Varsity Strike:FG, ASUU Yet To Agree On IPPIS, UTAS, Govt To Pay Earned Allowance - EDU-BIZNEWS


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Varsity Strike:FG, ASUU Yet To Agree On IPPIS, UTAS, Govt To Pay Earned Allowance

Federal Government and Academics Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are yet to agree on the mode for payment, even as the presidency agreed to fulfill its financial obligations to the Lecturers ,particularly their outstanding salaries and N40billion earned allowances to end the prolong strike in the University system. 

ASUU had refused the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) mode of payment, insisting on being paid, using only  the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) mode.

But the government side appealed to ASUU to enroll on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform in the meantime, and migrate back to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) after its efficacy had been proven through the necessary integrity tests. 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige  who pleaded with ASUU during Friday negotiation with the striking Lecturers in Abuja, explained that UTAS mode would be used for payment after passing the integrity test put in place by government.

“The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test, which would involve the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), and after ascertaining its efficacy, it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff,” the minister stated.

"With the work done so far, both at the meeting with the Senate President and at the test run of the UTAS done at the Accountant-General’s office on Wednesday, we believe we will be able to break the ice.”, Ngige assured.

He explained that UTAS was designed strictly for the University system and could only be applied there, emphasising that Government never said it would use it to replace IPPIS.

“The situation is that the University system developed and configured UTAS to accommodate the peculiarities of that system as it affects the academic and even the non-academic staff.”

The Minister also explained that the Government’s condition for considering UTAS as a suitable payment system for the University has always been that it would necessarily undergo three stages of the integrity test.

Ngige disclosed that the first leg of the test had been done on Wednesday, while the two remaining stages would be done subsequently

The Federal Government had promised to pay N40 billion, being the pending Earned Academic Allowance, EAA, of University teachers.

According to a statement issued by Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director/Head Press, the Minister stated that out of the N40 billion pending Earned Academic Allowance, N30 billion would be paid on or before 6th November, while the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over two tranches to be paid on May 2021 and February 2022.

Ngige added that the government’s commitment to pay was in response to “the demand by ASUU for the payment of two tranches of EAA which accumulate to N40 billion that has become overdue since November 2019.”

“Government also offered to pay, by the end of January 2021, the sum of N20 billion as funding for the revitalization of public universities, as well as seek for sources of alternative and additional funding of the university system, among other conclusions.”

The Minister had earlier expressed belief that the series of recent meetings, including the one convened on Tuesday by the Senate President, and activities such as the integrity test on UTAS done on Wednesday, would all culminate in the resolution of the crisis.

The Union's leadership is expected to report back to its members on Wednesday ,21st October on the offer by the government and reach conclusion on the next line of action  in the ongoing dialogue between the two parties.

Also speaking, the president of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, appealed to Government to treat the matter as a national emergency, as the Education sector needed urgent intervention.
"At the meeting with the Senate President,we agreed on work plan to achieve full reconciliation, so that students will go back to school"

“Education is in serious crisis; university education in particular needs urgent intervention. Unless it gets that, it would be difficult to achieve the desired stability in the system.”Ogunyemi stressed.

He commended the government’s efforts towards a speedy resolution of the crisis and hoped that the process, which parties to the dispute had embarked on, would ultimately lead to a satisfactory solution.

Present at the meeting were the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN; Executive Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta; Permanent Secretary, Labour and Employment.

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