Striking oil workers write FG on exclusion from IPPIS

Oil workers under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) on Thursday, wrote to the Federal Government (FG) on why they should be excluded from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, the Association stated that agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum maintain a physical presence in all Oil and Gas installations and services, thus its terms and conditions to the dynamic and complex operations of the Oil and Gas Industry.

It said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for one, operates the same conditions of service with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and also runs the same robust payroll system.

“The parameters of this payroll system would not fit into the IPPIS template

“NNPC and the DPR also operate the same closed pension scheme, which implies that they have common assets and liabilities; therefore, moving DPR to the IPPIS would hamper the fulfilment of its obligations to NNPC Closed Pension Scheme,” it said.

On reasons why they should be excluded from the system, it argued that Staff of these agencies at various Zonal offices run multi-purpose cooperative societies that are registered under the various State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

According to PENGASSAN, the cooperatives have certain financial obligations to fulfil, which would be impossible once the Department migrates to the IPPIS.

“Besides, these cooperative societies are funded by savings of members, which are usually deducted at source. The societies offer loans to the staff at low-interest rates and also help staff to secure external bank loans at reasonable interest rates. It is pertinent to state that these running loans of staff to the societies and other banks are usually repaid monthly at the source. It, therefore, suffices to allege that moving DPR to IPPIS would result in non-repayment of these loans, which of course may result in liabilities that would be difficult to manage,” it stated.

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It further argued that although one of the reasons for the IPPIS was to address the issue of ghost workers, this has never been a problem in the Department.

“Several audits conducted both within and outside the Ministry of Petroleum Resources attest to this fact,” it said.

Also, it said the key aspects of Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) such as car loans, compassionate loan among others, would be difficult to implement through the IPPIS as the negotiations carried out in March of every two years and subsequently implemented.

“The yearly 12 payroll (calendar) runs, there are two additional runs catering for end of the year benefit and the bonuses in line with the approved conditions of service.

“Staff upfront and monetized benefits are payable 1st January every year. Tea and meal allowances are paid monthly, while confectionary allowances are payable quarterly; this could not be captured through the IPPIS.

“Gratuity payment as obtainable in NNPC is an integral part of the conditions of service for which appropriate template is currently not available on the IPPIS platform.

“Medical as statutory in our condition of Service has no template in the IPPIS,” the letter read.

To this end, the Association urged the Minister to wade into the crisis by advising the Accountant-General of the Federation and Minister of Finance appropriately on the need for the exemption so as to avert industrial disharmony in the Oil and Gas Industry.

PENGASSAN had on Wednesday, embarked on a three-day warning strike over non-payment of their salaries in the last three months for not enrolling into the IPPIS.

 

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