Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said the federal government’s proposal to exempt some members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System was only a temporary measure pending the conclusion of the integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
Ngige, who clarified the position of the government team during Friday’s negotiation with ASUU, said it was not true that government had abandoned IPPIS and that ASUU should not be on IPPIS.
“I think it is better, because a lot of people are quoting us out of context, saying that we abandoned the IPPIS and that we said they should not be on IPPIS. It is not true.
“What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim for the transition period that UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cyber security.
“For those transition periods, ASUU members that are not yet on IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President compassionate COVID-19 payment done to them between the months of February and June.
“That platform is a hybrid platform between IPPIS and MINPSI platform for the transition period. That is what was used. It’s a hybrid,” he explained.
According to him, the reason for reaching that position was because no government payment would be done without IPPIS knowing.
“So, there is a handshake between IPPIS and MINSI platform and that was what was used in paying them for that period and so, we are going to continue with that until UTAS undergoes all the integrity test and cyber security test and it is confirmed for use,” he added.
On new offer made to ASUU, the minister said prior to the meeting of Friday, government had brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU.
“The offer made is clear. You can understand it this way. Prior to meeting of yesterday, Government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU. N20 billion for revitalisation to show good faith that government is still with them on the issue of funding for revitalisation and pending the affirmation of the new sources of funding public education.
“There is a committee on that and the committee is working on sourcing new education funds. It is a NEEDS committee. So, pending that NEEDS committee effecting a new funding source and strategy, government offered them N20 billion for revitalisation apart from the funds that are coming from TETFUNDS that is also used for revitalization.
“They refused the N20 billion and said that they wanted N110 billion and that N110 billion is 50 per cent of a tranche of N220 billion. Government said they don’t have that kind of money and then increased that N20 billion by N5 billion to become N25 billion and if it becomes N25 billion, the Earned Allowances will be raised to N40 billion immediate payment, making for a total of N65 billion for revitalisation and Earned Allowances in the universities.
“Government then said alternatively, ASUU could opt for the revitalisation to move up to N30 billion, while the Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities would drop from N40 billion to N35 billion. That is the second basket offered them – either of the two. Either you choose N25 billion revitalisation plus N40 billion Earned Allowances or revitalisation of N30 billion and N35 billion Earned Allowances,” he stated.