James Emejo in Abuja
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris wednesday said the federal government has finally concluded arrangements to enroll all federal universities on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
He said the move had become necessary in order to promote probity, transparency and accountability in government expenditure and to achieve the desired objectives of governance in centralising payroll system.
But the government’s decision appeared to be against the wishes of the universities, which had long asked for exemption from the system due to the peculiarity of the university administration.
According to the staff unions of universities which earlier opposed the move, they argued that universities engage the services of professionals and other needed hands from time to time, adding that embracing IPPIS will slow down that ability and freedom to hire at will as situation demanded.
However, speaking during a meeting of vice chancellors, registrars and bursars of federal universities in Abuja, Idris said the IPPIS scheme is one of the federal government’s reform initiatives, which is designed to achieve among other things, a centralised payroll system of the federal government to facilitate easy storage, updating and retrieval of personal record for administrative and pensions processing to aid manpower planning and budgeting, as well as to comply with the global best practice.
He noted that prior to 2015, the total number of Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) on IPPIS was 288 with total staff count of 235,858, adding that as at today the total MDAs on IPPIS platform is 561 with a total staff count of over 755,422.
The AGFor added that the cumulative savings achieved on IPPIS platform between 2017 and 2018 was N273.80 billion, stressing that these savings, which would have been lost but was now available for government spending.
He argued that the universities should comply with the presidential directive on IPPIS platform enrolment, adding that the system will accommodate all peculiarities identified by them, including sabbatical, visitation, honorarium and earned allowances.
He said universities should be the best ground for entrenching reforms towards transparency and good governance, urging them to embrace the scheme
as government will not change its position on IPPIS
The AGF further stated that the Nigerian Police and para- military agencies are already being paid on IPPIS platform while the enrolment of the Nigeria Military – army, navy and air force had just been concluded and a trial payroll currently ongoing.
He also disclosed that the enrolment of federal polytechnics had been scheduled to take effect early in July.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, described the IPPIS scheme as one of the best things that has happened to public finance management.
In a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press Unit, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Hensaw Ogubike, Rasheed further described the IPPIS as the best way to overcome some of the challenges affecting the universities.