FG, ASUU Agree to Merge IPPIS, UTAS

  • Strike continues, talks adjourned till Tuesday

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) thursday agreed to find ways of reconciling the two salary payment platforms – Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS).

Both sides said they have reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to settle the issues, which led to the commencement of a two-week warning strike by the university lecturers last Monday.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who briefed journalists last night shortly after five-hour meeting between government’s team and the ASUU leaders, said that the meeting resolved that modalities would be set out on how to merge IPPIS and UTAS.

He said the talks have been adjourned till either Monday or Tuesday next week to enable ASUU to consult with its leadership across board and to come up with suggestions on how to achieve the merger.

Ngige said: “I am pleased to inform you that with the four ministers and perm secretaries, Accountant General of the Federation and directors, acting chairman National Income and Wages Commission and ASUU president and executive – we held very fulfilling discussions and where necessary we debated put forward our points and the union side. Issues we discussed we used the memorandum of action which we entered into in February 2019; we used it to look at issues that are outstanding, issues that have not been fully addressed. And both sides were satisfied that we made reasonable progress in addressing the few issues that have not been fully treated. We moved to the next round of a new contentious issue which is the issues bordering on the non-capturing of some ASUU members on the IPPIS platform, which resulted in withholding of salaries and allowances of most ASUU members, those who did not come under the platform and even some other university non-academic staff members.

“Discussions were open and both sides realised that we are working for our country and that whatever arrangement we put in place would be for a better Nigeria. ASUU has developed UTAS, and we have had some preliminary agreements on what is to be done to accommodate the two systems and ASUU have to get back to their members, consult the executive committee first and all their members so that they can agree on the modus operandi of trying to couple the two systems. In that respect, we are continuing discussions. ASUU …. So the meeting is adjourned till Monday Tuesday pending on when ASUU is ready,” Ngige explained.

On his part, ASUU’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said that the meeting agreed to work out means of accommodating the variations contained in the two systems with a view to marrying them.

He said: “From our own side we would say that we had a frank session, frank engagement and issues were thrown up. Those issues like the minister rightly mentioned came from outstanding issues in the February 2019 Memorandum of Action which has tended to be overshadowed by IPPIS. From the discussion we had we agreed that we will go and consult that the proposals that came up we cannot pronounce on them until we consult with our members”.

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