Through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), the Federal Government has taken a decisive move to stop the salaries of oil and gas workers, who are on its payroll over their failure to key into implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In a swift reaction, therefore, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike; even as the unions jointly directed their members to ignore any directive on IPPIS from the AGF.
The Office of the Accountant General of The Federation had issued a Circular with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/93/1/87, on August 29, this year to stop the salaries of oil and gas workers next month (October).
In the circular, the AGF gave October 2019 deadline for the enrollment of Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), that are not yet on IPPIS currently, which mainly affected the oil and gas workers.
However, in a joint letter written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, recalled an earlier Circular (OAGF/ IPPIS/12/11/77) dated 7th September 2018, which was issued on IPPIS, which the oil and gas workers frowned at.
The unions explained that the rejection of the circular then resulting to a series of meetings to proffer ways of addressing the matter.
The letter said: “At the end of those meetings, a Technical Committee was set up by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to assess the Unions’ concerns regarding the implementation of IPPIS. It is pertinent to state that this Committee is yet to meet as we write.
“Unfortunately, we have been inundated again by the threat from the Office of the Accountant General of The Federation via a Circular with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/93/1/87, dated 29th August 2019 to stop the salaries of our members, come October 2019.”
It further explained: “We reaffirm that we are not against the Government Policy regarding IPPIS, but we wish to refer to the existence of government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform which is run by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), already serving a similar purpose and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) whose responsibility, is to audit the nominal and payroll of Agencies as recently emphasized by the Minister of Finance.”
On the recent circular, the letter signed by the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa and the General Secretary, NUPENG, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, read; “we have been inundated again by the threat from the Office of the Accountant General of The Federation via a Circular with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/93/1/87, dated 29th August 2019 to stop the salaries of our members, come October 2019.
“Based on the above observation of contradiction and repetition of roles from the recent circular, we have therefore directed our members in these affected regulatory Agencies (NNRA, PTI, DPR, NCDMB, PPPRA PTDF and PEF) not to provide any information concerning our members personnel payment and allowances to the Accountant-General’s Office for the purpose of IPPIS, until the Technical Committee meets.
“We are also putting all the implementing agencies of government on notice that if our salaries are stopped without clarification of the issues raised, we will be left with no other option than to withdraw our services without any further notice.”