BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has accused members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of pushing the federal government to undermine its laws on taxes, employees’ pension contributions, national housing fund, union dues and other statutory deductions from their salaries and wages.
The OAGF also said that the failure of tertiary educational institutions unions to dully remit their Pay As You Earn (PAYE) had made state governments in the federation to demand that the federal government pay the differential arising from underpayment of taxes by these institutions. As a fact, the OAGF said the federal government had paid several billions on behalf of these institutions because of their underpayment of PAYE tax.
ASUU had alleged that the federal government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was deducting their salaries and allowances to the extent that their take home was now 50 per cent or less of what they earned.
In a response, the government said: “The request by the tertiary institutions’ unions to formalise tax evasion through IPPIS is not only untenable, but an unpatriotic request to violate extant laws on tax.
In a statement it issued yesterday, the OAGF said that ASUU was bringing claims that those laws should not be applicable to them and therefore should be exempted or be made optional for them.
“The request for breach of an Act of Parliament is not within the ambit of the IPPIS or the OAGF. They have been advised to approach the National Assembly for amendment of the Act,” it added.
The OAGF advised the tertiary institutions academic unions to approach the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (SIWC) to formalise any agreement on salaries and allowances that they claim to have been approved for them.
The OAGF claimed that the tertiary institutions were in charge of the payment of their salaries up to January 2020. It wondered why the tertiary institutions failed to pay their staff members in line with the presidential directive that all consequential arrears due to federal employees must be pardon or before December 31, 2019.
“They owe their staff explanations why they refused to pay their staff members up to January 2020,” it said, noting that the IPPIS commenced the payment of salaries to tertiary institution in February 2020.
On the issue of pay slips, the OAGF said that IPPIS had forwarded pay slips for February, March and April 2020 to the mail box of bursars of the tertiary institutions to enable them generate such pay slips and distribute to their staff while the institutions have been advised to furnish IPPIS with active emails of their workers to enable IPPIS forward individual pay slips to their various emails in addition to bulk release of pay slips to the various institutions.
On alleged payment to dead university employees, OAGF said that the institutions deliberately forwarded to IPPIS the list containing dead ASUU members as being part of their personnel to get more personnel fund.