Despite the opposition from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the federal government has said the enrollment of staff of federal universities and colleges of education in Nigeria into the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPIS) would commence on Monday, November 25.
A statement by the deputy director of press, Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Henshaw Ogwibike, advised staff of federal universities and colleges of education to present themselves for the exercise.
He explained that officers from the IPPIS department in the OAGF would be joined by the staff of the universities and the colleges to conduct the week-long exercise.
Enrollment into the IPPIS has led to controversies between the federal government and ASUU with the lecturers rejecting the move, noting that the payment system violates university autonomy
The university workers had said they would automatically go on strike in November if the government carries out its threat to withhold their October salary for refusing to enrol in the new payment system.
The ASUU national president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while addressing the senate president, Ahmed Lawan, in October, described IPPIS as a scam and threat to national security.
He said contrary to the law backing the Governing Councils of each Federal University to exercise full control over the finances of the universities, IPPIS “lacks constitutional backing; neither is it supported by an Act of the National Assembly”.
“The IPPIS is not a home-grown initiative, rather it is a prescription of the World Bank, which ultimate consequence is to create anarchy and therefore, retard the growth and development of Nigeria,” he said.
The union had also complained that the IPPIS does not capture the peculiarities of the structure of the establishment of the university system, which is flexible and pragmatic.
“The system does not, for example, capture the remuneration of staff on sabbatical, external examiners, external assessors, and Earned Academic Allowances. It does not address the movement of staff as in the case of visiting, adjunct, part-time, consultancy service, which academics offer across universities in Nigeria,” he said.
He also said IPPIS as currently implemented requires staff to travel to Abuja for physical biometric data capture if by any chance such staff could not be available during the time the IPPIS personnel visited for the exercise.
“The implementation of IPPlS in Nigerian universities will further localise their operations and perspectives, thus negatively impacting their ranking in the global academic community,” he added.
The union leader said the IPPIS cannot address specific processes of promotion of academics.
“For example, the promotion exercise in the Professional Cadre, which is subject to an external assessment that may last for several months; in such cases, when the outcome of the exercise is returned positive, the beneficiary is paid arrears from the beginning of the assessment process. But this cannot be captured by IPPIS.
“The IPPIS does not recognise the 70 years retirement age of academics in the professorial cadre, and 65 years for those in the non-professorial cadre, as against the 60 years in the civil service,” Ogunyemi stated.
He said should the IPPIS be forced on the universities, the result will be widespread dissatisfaction among scholars.
In the same vein, ASUU had last Tuesday vowed to continue to resist the enrollment of its members on the IPPIS by the federal government.
The national vice president of the union, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union has made its position known to the government that ASUU would not join the IPPIS platform.
According to him, there was nowhere in the world that salaries and wages of university staff are paid from a central system by the government.
He maintained that in line with the best practices in the world and the peculiarities of the university system, every university should have its own structure
According to him, every university has its own Governing Council that employ the workers and not the Federal Civil Service Commission.
He said: “The union has made its position known to the federal government and we are awaiting the government’s response.
“Therefore, the Council must determine the mode of payment of its workers and not the Accountant General Office. We are looking at peculiarities of universities and we must fight for it.”