James Emejo in Abuja
The federal government has finally resolved to remove from its payroll, all university staff, who are yet to be on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) with effect from November 2020.
A letter from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), dated October 8, and signed by the Director of IPPIS, Dr. Nsikak Ben, and addressed to all vice chancellors, a copy which was made available to THISDAY yesterday stated that such staff will cease to receive salaries until they are properly enrolled on the platform.
The correspondence titled, “Stoppage of Salaries of University Staff that are yet to be Enrolled on IPPIS Platform”, read: “I am directed to inform you that any Staff of your Institution who has not enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), either as a result of Study Leave (with pay), maternity leave or on medical ground, will no longer appear on the IPPIS payroll with effect from November, 2020 payroll except such Staff presents himself/herself for the biometric data capture at the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Abuja with an introduction letter/IPPIS Enrollment forms duly endorsed by the principal authorities of the institution.”
It added: “In addition, all supporting documents should include evidence of six months salary bank statement. In view of the above, kindly inform your staff in this category to urgently avail themselves for the biometric data capture at the OAGF.
“However, exemption may only be given where institutions provide evidence of study leave, stating the duration to
justify such persons being retained on the payroll.
“Please accept the assurances of the warm regards of the Accountant-General of the Federation.”
Relations between the federal government and the university staff under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had deteriorated recently over the objection of the latter to be enrolled on the IPPIS payment platform, which the government said will help cut waste and corruption in public service by eliminating ghost workers as well as helping to have an accurate number of its actual workforce.
ASUU had maintained that the IPPIS will retard progress in the educational system because of the peculiar nature of its operations and asked for an exemption.
But strong indications emerged in February that the OAGF had sought the approval of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to finally suspend the release of the funds for the payment of salaries of workers of tertiary institutions, who have not enrolled on IPPIS.
While still awaiting the minister’s approval, the federal government in May accused universities of deliberately accommodating dead members of ASUU on the payroll forwarded to the OAGF.
The OAGF said the inclusion of ghost workers on the list forwarded to it for the implementation of the IPPIS might have been orchestrated to get more personnel funds from the federal government.
The allegation came amidst claims by tertiary institutions unions, led by ASUU, that IPPIS was deducting their salaries and allowances resulting in their take-home being reduced to about 50 per cent.
Also, in October 2019, the rift between the federal government and ASUU deepened yesterday as the former dismissed the union’s concern about putting lecturers on the centralised salary payment platform.
Reacting to the union’s objection to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that federal government workers not on the IPPIS would not be paid salaries, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, fired back, saying the union is not in a position to dictate to the federal government on how its members should be paid their salaries, and insisted there was no going back on the decision.