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FG exempts varsities, polytechnics, others from payroll system

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1701574181 Bola Tinubu

The President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government on Wednesday approved the exemption of universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and other tertiary institutions from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, or IPPIS.

It stated that, henceforth, remunerations to staff members of these institutions of learning would no longer flow through the IPPIS platform.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, to State House correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja.

The FG maintained that the IPPIS does not afford tertiary institutions the freedom to run their affairs, Idris said.

He explained, “Today, the universities and other tertiary institutions have gotten a very big relief from the integrated personnel payroll and information system. You will recall that the university authorities and others have been clamoring for exempting universities and other tertiary institutions from this system.

“Today, the Council has graciously approved that. What that means is that going forward, the universities, as the Honorable Minister of Education has said, and other tertiary institutions, the polytechnics and colleges of education, will be taken off the IPPIS.

“What that means in simple language is that the university authorities and other tertiary institutions will now pay their personnel from their own end instead of relying on the IPPIS.”

Prof. Tahir Mamman, Minister of Education, outlined the rationale for the Council’s decision, saying the goal was to enable the efficient operation of public educational institutions across the country.

He said that Wednesday’s action has nothing to do with the integrity of IPPIS, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, or other comparable systems promoted by various organizations.

Mamman said, “Simply, the president and the Council are just concerned about the efficiency of the management of the universities, and so it has nothing to do with integrity or platform options.

“The president cannot understand why vice chancellors should be leaving their duty posts and running to Abuja to get staff enlisted on IPPIS when they get recruited.

“The basic concern is that universities are governed by laws. And those laws give them autonomy in certain respects and most respects, and the IPPIS has sort of eroded that autonomy granted universities in accordance with their act.”

The FG established the IPPIS as one of its reform measures for the effective keeping of personnel records in October 2006, claiming that the move would promote openness and accountability.

The administration has praised IPPIS, which was expanded to cover all ministries, departments, and organizations that draw staff expenditures from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, as a means of saving billions of Naira and boosting transparency in salary payments.

However, the Academic Staff Union of Institutions, the umbrella body for lecturers in Nigerian institutions, has fought against the adoption of IPPIS within universities, claiming that it undermines university autonomy and does not take into account the particular nature of academic labor.

Instead, ASUU has proposed an alternative method dubbed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which they think better solves university system quirks including sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements, and part-time contracts.

According to ASUU and other academic unions, IPPIS centralization impedes governing councils’ ability to efficiently manage people and payroll, hurting strategic planning and university autonomy.

This has resulted in tensions and a lengthy impasse, with ASUU continuing to advocate for the use of UTAS over IPPIS, which they perceive as a foreign-imposed system unfit for the Nigerian tertiary education sector.

Despite the government’s efforts to impose IPPIS, ASUU has remained steadfast, resulting in strikes and disruptions in academic activities, including an eight-month sabbatical that concluded in 2022.

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