IPPIS: Centralisation of payroll invalidates university autonomy ― ASUU

As Lawan laments government's indiscretion to agreement

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has re-iterated the stand that her members will not enrol on the centralised payroll system of the Federal Government because it invalidates their autonomy.

ASUU President, Professor, Biodun Ogunyemi said this when he met with the leadership of the National Assembly on a courtesy call with a delegation and maintained that global practice of university administration is guided by separation of power and distinct from the civil service structure.

According to Professor Ogunyemi, the introduction of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) would compound the irregular flow of funds to the university which has suffered a significant setback in the last ten years.

He said that the system is not backed by law and the position of the union is that there are unattended legal issues, negotiated agreements, arising from the nature and peculiarity of Nigerian universities which make the IPPIS unnecessary and inapplicable to the university system.

Ogunyemi intimated the leadership of the Senate that part of its Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government, the ASUU agreement held on the 7th of February 2019, at the conference room of the Minister of Labour and Employment that the government stated that it was committed to the implementation of the FGN-ASUU 2013 Memorandum of Understanding.

Consequently, the government agreed that it will be releasing the sum of twenty-five billion Naira (N25bn) only in the period of April/May as a sign of good faith.

The Federal Government was to resume full implementation of the MoU following the activation of the recommendations of the report of the Stakeholders Workshop on sustainable funding for Education in Nigeria, 27 – 28 November 2018.

The government was to address the issue of salary shortfall, the fund earned academic allowances for which N20bn was earlier approved to defray part of the outstanding arrears of earned allowances in Nigerian universities.

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ASUU said the agreement also stated that the initial N25bn was to be released not later than 15th February 2019. The said sum will be considered as the first tranche of payment, guided by the report of the forensic audit.

Government had, as part of the agreement been expected to pay the outstanding balance up to 2018 in four equal instalments within a time frame of thirty-six months spread as follows November 2019; August 2020; May 2021; and February 2022, while government shall also mainstream further payments of the budget allowance into the annual budgets, beginning with 2019 budget, presently under consideration at the national assembly.

Chairman of the National Assembly and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who received the ASUU delegation to the National Assembly, expressed disappointment at how the government would enter into an agreement with ASUU due to pressure.

More worrisome for the President of the Senate was the fact that instead of solving the problem, it has escalated leading to more problems.

Lawan’s reaction followed the disclosure of the eight-point agreement between government and ASUU since 1992.

His words: “I have been part of Committee on Education since 2005 when I was in the House of Representatives and since I became a Senator, I have always been a member of Committee on Education and Tertiary Institutions.

“I know several agreements government entered which they know they cannot enforce. Why would somebody enter agreement you know you cannot implement because of pressure?” Lawan queried.

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