Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said that the Federal Government’s proposal to exempt members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is a temporary measure pending the conclusion of integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Ngige, who clarified the position of the government team on the negotiation with ASUU said that it was not true that the government had abandoned the IPPIS or that ASUU should not be on the platform.
Making the clarification on Saturday, the minister said, “I think it is better because a lot of people are quoting us out of context saying that we abandoned the IPPIS and that we said they should not be on IPPIS, it is not true.
“What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim for the transition period that UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cyber security.
“For that transition period, ASUU members that are not yet on IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President’s compassionate COVID-19 payment done to them between the months of February and June.
“That platform is a hybrid platform between IPPIS and GIFMIS platform (Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System) for the transition period. That was what was used, it’s a hybrid.”
He said the reason for reaching that position was because no government payment will be done outside the IPPIS platform.
“So there is a handshake between IPPIS and GIFMIS platform and that was what was used in paying them for that period and so we are going to continue with that until UTAS undergoes all the integrity test and cyber security test and it is confirmed for use, ” he added.
On the N65 billion offer made to ASUU, the minister said that prior to the Friday meeting, the government made an aggregate offer of N50b to the union.
He said, “The offer made was clear. You can understand it this way. Prior to meeting of yesterday (Friday), government brought an aggregate offer of N50b to ASUU; N20b for revitalisation, to show good faith that government is still with them on the issue of funding for revitalisation and pending the affirmation of the new sources of funding public education. There is a committee on that and the committee is working on sourcing new education funds, it is a NEEDS committee.
So, pending that NEEDS committee effecting a new funding source and strategy, government offered them N20bn for revitalisation, apart from the funds that are coming from TETFUNDS that is also used for revitalisation.
“They refused the N20bn and said that they wanted N110b which was 50 per cent of a tranche of N220bn. Government said they didn’t have that kind of money and then increased that N20bn by N5bn to become N25bn and if it becomes N25bn, the Earned Allowances will be raised to N40b immediate payment, making for a total of N65 billion for revitalisation and Earned Allowances in the universities.”