NITDA absent as SAANU, NASU present payment platform to education minister

The rejection of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as a payment platform for university workers took another dimension on Tuesday as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) presented its preferred payment platform to the minister of education, Adamu Adamu.

Tagged “University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System (U3PS),” JAC, comprising the representatives of SSANU and NASU, said IPPIS has been found to be inconsistent with the peculiarities of the university system.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, the permanent secretary at the ministry of education, Andrew Adejo, said the ministry of labor and employment had, at a meeting in October, 2020, agreed to the presentation of JAC’s preferred payment system.

“About some time last month, we got a letter from the (ministry of) labor forwarding it to us (the ministry of education) to take the necessary action. So we met last week and computed it and this is the formal presentation, ”Mr Adejo said.

U3PS

Presenting the U3PS, NASU Secretary General Peters Adeyemi said it grants the universities the autonomy of preparing their payroll that is consistent with the peculiarities of the system.

He said the union had keyed into the IPPIS for the first few months before it was prompted to create U3PS due to the inconsistencies involved in the IPPIS.

He said: “Since the government said IPPIS was going to be used to fight corruption, we should join hands with the government to give IPPIS a trial and we went into IPPIS.

“But from the first month to the second, third and fourth month or thereabout, it was full of inconsistencies. Avalanche of inconsistencies. So much that our members could no longer bear it and they were on our nerves.

“And we look within and among us and we realized that we have technical and ICT experts that can help us to develop an alternative to IPPIS which we called the University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System (U3PS) where we believe that all the inconsistencies in the IPPIS will be resolved. ”

Mr Adeyemi added that the U3PS was developed “in such a way that it will accommodate all stakeholders in the university system; be it academics, non teaching staff, or academic technologists. ”

Minister speaks

Speaking, the minister of education said he was impressed with the platform and wondered why the unions did not develop it before the introduction of IPPIS.

Mr Adamu urged the unions to document the inconsistencies involved with the IPPIS to help bring the government’s attention.

He said: “I would like to congratulate you for this thing that you have done. I congratulate Nigerian intellectuals who could do this, because I believe IPPIS is being paid large amounts of money to experts who are foreigners.

“So, we have experts in our higher institutions who could do this. I don’t even know why they never did it before.

“I would like to call on you. The inconsistencies that you say we have in the IPPIS which are many, please articulate them, because there is a need for us to know how things went wrong.

“I am sure when IPPIS started, it was working very well. But now everybody is complaining including those who are running it ”.

The minister also directed the union to make the same presentation to the minister of finance and the accountant general of the federation “so that it can be subjected to tests by NITDA.”

“I hope you are up to the task and you can defend yourself. But I believe NITDA will be waiting for you, ”he said.

NITDA absent

Meanwhile, the representatives of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) were absent at Tuesday’s meeting.

NITDA is the government agency saddled with the responsibility of “creating a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of information technology practices in Nigeria.”

It is expected to subject the new application to rigorous testing before it could be approved for deployment.

During the meeting, the permanent secretary at the education ministry said an invite was sent to NITDA, but he did not know why its representatives were absent.

However, Hadiza Umar, NITDA’S head of corporate affairs and external relations told PREMIUM TIMES that she was unaware of the invitation. She promised to make inquiries and provide a reply. But she was yet to provide a response as of the time of filing this report.


READ ALSO: Again, SSANU, NASU extend strike by one month

“I will have to ask, I am not aware of the meeting nor why NITDA was not represented,” she replied to our reporter’s inquiry.

NITDA has been at loggerheads with ASUU over the certification and approval of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which is one of the key demands of the striking lecturers.

Calls for industrial peace

The permanent secretary urged the union to always interface with the ministry of education whenever there is an issue before going to the ministry of labor and employment.

He said the labor and employment ministry is “only there to mediate whenever there is a fallout between the union and the education ministry.”

Mr Adejo, therefore, called for industrial peace promising to create “an enabling environment”.

Back Story

SSANU and NASU had, two weeks ago, declared a one month strike following the government’s failure to meet its demands which include addressing the inconsistencies in payment with Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of earned allowances, non-payment of arrears of National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustment.

Others, as listed by the union, include poor funding of state universities, delay in the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, non-release of white papers of visitation panels, non-payment of retirement benefits to outcome members, among others.

Both unions had first declared a two-week warning strike in February. It was subsequently extended by two weeks before extending by another one month in April.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.


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