The House of Representatives has directed its Committees on Finance, Education, Labour, Employment and Productivity to intervene in the conflict between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the implementation of Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) Policy.
The directive follows the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Tajudeen Abass yesterday. The joint committee is to intervene with a view to identifying the cause of the conflict and reconcile the warring parties.
In his debate, Abass noted that the federal government recently directed that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that draw their personnel costs from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation to register all staff on the IPPIS platform.
He said that the directive stated that the registration must be done on or before October 31, 2019 as defaulting MDAs would not be paid salaries.
The lawmaker recalled that the IPPIS was conceptualised in October 2006 by the federal government as one of its reform programme to Improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records adding that it ensures administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.
According to him, apart from the IPPIS, the federal government in its desire to reduce corrupt practices in the country, introduced, among others, the Government Integrated Finance Management Information System (GIFMIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), the E-collection system and Whistle Blower Policy.
Abass said that the Pilot phase of the implementation of the IPPIS policy, which was financed by the World Bank, commenced in 2006 at the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR).
He further noted that upon the approval of the Federal Executive Council, the policy was formally introduced to MDAs in April 2007 with 18 MDAs participating.
He informed that as at April 2018, 490 MDAs have been enrolled into the IPPIS with a total staff trend of over 700,000 employees.
According to him, the IPPIS policy, among others, has been used as an effective and efficient tool to fight the malaise of ghost workers which before now appears to have defied all policies and mechanisms put in place in the public service.
“Since the inception of the IPPIS policy in 2007 to date the federal government have saved about 12 billion naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.
“In spite of the several benefits of the IPPIS policy, the implementation of the policy have generated some controversies in some MDAs in the public service and has manifested some draw backs which should be addressed.
“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in reaction to the new federal government directives on the implementation of IPPIS is not only objecting to the application of the policy to the Federal Universities but have issued counter directive to all its members not to comply with the directive,” he said.
Abass said that ASUU threatened to go on strike if the federal government attempts to enforce the implementation of the policy in federal universities on the grounds that the policy lacks legal backing and is in conflict with the autonomy of the universities.
The lawmaker said that if the federal government refused to back down on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities as demanded by ASUU, they might go on another strike.
He said going on strike might jeopardise the current peace and stability being enjoyed in our university campuses.
“If this issue is not properly handled, the academic unions in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education may decide to toe the same line with their university counterpart.
“Even though the IPPIS is a good policy but just like any other policy it should be reviewed from time to time with a view to strengthening it or addressing any manifested shortcomings in its implementation.
“Whatever are the differences between the federal government and ASUU on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities, the matter should not be allowed to degenerate to another strike in our universities,” he said.