Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige,
Varsity workers, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, (IPPIS) crisis.
The unions, who have also vowed not to meet with the government over the issue said that the government doesn’t need to call for a meeting before it pays them their full salaries and release their payment slips.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, acknowledged the receipt of JAC ultimatum, saying that the government has received the strike notice from the non-teaching staff unions in the universities and was making efforts to meet with the leadership of the unions.
The minister also explained that the government has mandated Bursars of Universities to compile all the problems associated with the payment of salaries through the IPPIS platform so that they could be addressed.
While issuing the 14-day ultimatum, JAC insisted that the Federal Government should correct all the problems associated with the payment of salary through the IPPIS platform and release their Earned Allowances before the easing of the lockdown, otherwise, their members across the country will not resume duty when schools resume.
Ngige, who was answering questions from journalists in Abuja on the notice of strike issued by the non-teaching staff in the universities and the allegation of payment of half salaries to members of the unions by the IPPIS office, stated that efforts were on top gear to correct all the problems.
He said: “We are on top of the situation, we have received their letter. Their letter borders on shortcomings of the IPPIS system and I have spoken with the Finance Minister and the Accountant General of the Federation and they said that they are in touch with the University Bursars to correct certain peculiarities and send back to them to treat.
“However, it’s important to point out that one of the shortcomings which the Universities workers pointed out is that the IPPIS is over taxing them and that IPPIS skipped some of their people who have taken leave of absence and the rest of them all.
“These are matters that can be easily adjusted, the IPPIS office informed me that immediately the lockdowns are down, these Bursars are to come up, but before then that they should by e-system try to give them additional information on some of those shortcomings and that they will try as much as possible to correct them.
“We have equally gone out to the unions and asked them that we want to meet with them and the IPPIS, so we are trying to see if we can arrange a special pass for them so that their leaders could come up here and we have the meeting.
“The zoom meeting will not be able to correct some of those things that is what we have discovered, we decided that we have to do a physical meeting and we will do that as soon as possible, my office is working with IPPIS office to arrange that meeting.”
On the planned meeting, chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke said that non-teaching staff members in the universities have been passing through hardship since they enrolled into the IPPIS platform.
He added that in the past four months members have not received full salaries, while deductions made for the servicing of bank loans which members took have not been remitted to the banks and cooperative society.
He said: “Since the inception of the IPPIS contrary to what the platform is supposed to be, what we were told and what we believed before we accepted the platform, SSANU members and the non-teaching staff in the universities have not received complete salaries.
“From January 2020, till date, we have not received full salaries and since that time till now, no payslip has been released by IPPIS to the universities. So all that our members have received as net pay is what IPPIS wants to give us. It’s as worse as that because if you have your payslip, you will now know what are the deductions made from your salary.
“Up till now, the other deductions that are meant for our members and their welfare are being withheld by the IPPIS and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. They deducted tax and paid to the Federal Government, they deducted welfare money, they deducted cooperative society funds, the deducted loans and withheld it since that time, the implication is that salaries have not been paid in full since the inception of the IPPIS.
“Worse still is that some of our members are indebted to cooperative society, some who took loans are indebted to welfare funds, from the banks and by the agreement reached with these organisations, the repayments are made monthly.”