The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that only federal workers on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) would henceforth receive their salaries is not binding on members of the union.
ASUU, which has been on strike since February, said it has developed a University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) that can be used for managing personnel information and payroll system in the universities.
President of ASUU, Comrade Biodun Ogunyemi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja at the weekend.
President Buhari, while presenting the 2021 Budget at a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, said that only federal workers captured by the IPPIS would continue to receive salaries.
He ordered all federal workers to enrol into the IPPIS platform, declaring that the platform was meant to check fraud, including the payment of salaries to non-existent personnel.
He said that the platform would also check the payment of unauthorised allowances.
But Mr Ogunyemi, while reacting to the president’s directive, said ”the workers referred to were civil servants.”
“The directive was meant for civil servants; university academics are not civil servants,” he said. “We have an understanding with the government to develop an alternative platform which would be sensitive to the operations of the university and accommodate its peculiarities.
“The platform we are developing will also respect the autonomy of our universities as obtained globally.
“The idea of seeking clearance from the Head of Service or the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is alien to university operations because it will halt its flexibility.
“The University Miscellaneous (Provisions) (Amendment)Act (2003), which the government gazetted as University Autonomy Act (2007), has vested the powers of personnel and payroll system issues in the hands of each university’s governing council,” he said.
He added that ASUU, on January 9, 2019, ”reached an understanding with Mr President to develop its proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), for testing and adoption for managing personnel information and payroll system in the universities”.
“We have since done that and presented it to the Federal Ministry of Education. What is left is to present to other major stakeholders, particularly in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“The development of UTAS was done at no cost to the government. We used contributions from the check-off deductions of ASUU members to finance the project and this cost us millions of naira,” he said.