By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the withdrawal of universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions of learning from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), an effort targeted at enhancing their autonomy.
Henceforth, remunerations to staff members of these institutions would no longer flow through the platform, authorities said on Wednesday.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the umbrella body of university lecturers has repeatedly sought exclusion from the platform which they say negates the autonomy of the tertiary institutions.
ASUU instead proposed an alternative system called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which they believe better addresses the peculiarities of the university system, such as sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements and part-time contracts.
The Minister of the Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris at the end of Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House, Abuja, said he has reasoned that the IPPIS does not afford tertiary institutions the freedom to run their affairs, Idris said.
“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 clamouring for exempting the 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.”
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, who explained the rationale for the Council’s decision, said the goal was to allow for the efficient running of public educational institutions nationwide.
Mamman said, “Simply, the president and the Council are just concerned about the efficiency of 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 post and run 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 is accordance with their act.”