Denies replacing UTAS with IPPIS
As non Varsity teaching staff reject UTAS
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday lamented that the continuous closure of Nigerian Universities as a result of the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS has contributed to the ongoing #EndSARS protest.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige stated this at a meeting with the leadership of ASUU over the union’s stiff opposition to the IPPIS payment platform.
Senator Ngige also debunked the insinuation that the Federal Government was contemplating replacing the IPPIS platform with University Transparency Account System (UTAS), the platform that the university teachers have come up with against IPPIS.
The Minister decried the prolonged strike that has paralysed academic activities in tertiary institutions across the country.
According to him, “For the past week, we have all been on our toes, we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits. We don’t take very great pleasure, in the fact that the children who are supposed to be in school are being recruited into the #EndSARS, #EndStrike, #EndSWAT and all the kind of situations.
“As much as possible, we will try to see how we can meet ourselves halfway so that we can resolve this crisis to the benefits of all and the country at large.”
Ngige said that the government has commenced the process of testing UTAS which ASUU members claimed it accommodates the peculiarities of university systems, adding that all the three stages of the test will be concluded within the time frame the union gave the government.
He said, “We have had the preliminary report and test run on the UTAS, which is the University Transparency Accountability Solution. We believe that with that, we will be able to get it right.
“Let me make it clear to members of the press, we never said UTAS will replace IPPIS as some of you are reporting, No! The UTAS developed by them is for the University systems and they feel that it captures the peculiarities that are configured to accommodate all the peculiarities of the University systems especially as it affects the Professors and other teaching staff and even the Non-Academic Staff. That is the situation.
“We, as government feels we are going to put it up for tests – three stages of the test. We have done the first stage of the test which is within the timeline of six months that ASUU promised. We are going to do other integrity tests, Alpha test, Beta test, and the one they call roll-over and other whatever test. It is the technologists that know all those tests. But this is the round we are going on now.”
While reacting, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who led the union’s delegation to the meeting said Nigerians including members of the union expect so much from its leadership, insisting that it would not do anything that will jeopardize the rights of its members, students, and the country as a whole.
Present at the meeting included the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Education, Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita; Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Adamu Rasheed and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN,
Meanwhile, the non-teaching staff in the universities have warned that they will not be part of the arrangement to replace IPPIS with the proposed UTAS by ASUU.
The University non-teaching staff threatened that if the Federal Government goes ahead to recognize UTAS, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union and Associated Institutions, NASU will come up with their own new payment platform.
A highly placed member of the Joint Action Committee, JAC of the two unions said that an employee cannot dictate to his employers the payment platform to be used, adding that what should be the concern of an employee was to receive his salary as at and when due.
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