ASUU insists on UTAS payment system

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted on having the Federal Government adopt it recently invented payment system for Universities with the name University Transparency and Accountability Solution UTAS as the option against the federal government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

ASUU also argues that the Federal government payment system IPPIS, which is made compulsory to university workers, including ASUU members is against the law of the land that granted autonomy to Universities.

Besides, “the IPPIS is not temper-proof as presented, adding to the fact that it has national security risk being that the server is hosted from outside the country by an American company.”

The Coordinator, ASUU Calabar Zone, Comrade Aniekan Brown PhD covering 7 Universities within four states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ebonyi states, told journalist in Calabar on Monday that “we consider the IPPIS which is a payment system offer by the federal government as uncongenial with the modus operandi of the university system, given the peculiarities of universities. Government has made it a front burner; but we consider it a distraction.”

“Kindly note that our Union has been rejecting the IPPIS since 2013; Government challenged us to produce an alternative to IPPIS. The Union took up the challenge, and has produced one. This is called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS. Presentations have been made to the appreciation of some quarters.”

“The Union has been ready for the final stage presentation to NITDA. Sadly, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGoF) is of the position that our members migrate first (during the intervening period) after which if UTAS is approved, we would be re-migrated to UTAS. We argue that it is a case of economic waste.”

The ASUU zonal chief maintained that in the interim, their members have not been paid variously for periods ranging from four to nine months. “We are still in the trenches. And we will not return to the classes with empty stomach.”

He debunked the figures pandered in some quarters by the government that over 50,000 members of ASUU have voluntarily joined the IPPIS platform in obedience to the federal government directive as against about 14,000 yet to comply.

His words, “That is just a divisive and blackmail tactics. We don’t have such number of academic staff members in the country even if you put together both federal and states’ universities. May be there are counting other unions’ members within the university.”

He further insisted that “the university system is peculiar in its modus-operandi. The mode of employment, retirement age, sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements, part-time engagements, contract engagements, etc. are concepts that are unique to the university, and obviously alien to IPPIS. The OAGF has told a lot lies about addressing these peculiarities. Unfortunately, our Union had a number of meetings with the OAGF and, for all that the meetings are worth, they were opportunities to convince ASUU that the IPPIS is capable of addressing the concerns of our Union. This did not happen!”

ASUU as they put it, is pained that the federal Government has continue to pay deaf ears to the revitalization of Public Universities and as it concerns the proliferation and funding of State Universities; “ASUU insist that Visitors to State Universities should stand up to their responsibilities. And State government should not establish universities they cannot fund. Visitation Panels to universities have not been realized in the last ten (10) years, it responsibilities nor purpose for which the idea of having the panel in place.”

Comrade Brown concluded with an appeal saying, “We seek the cooperation and understanding of the good people of Nigeria, and the general public on ASUU’s stance on the afore-stated outstanding issues and the IPPIS. ASUU has courted for itself an enviable pedigree of integrity, credibility and accountability. Our members would not return to the classes with empty stomachs.”

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