…govt has right to decide workers’ wages – Ngige
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, hassaidtheIntegrated Payrolls and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) will erode the autonomy of the nation’s universities if it is adopted as the payment platform of the government the ivory towers. Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Osodekesaidtheadoption of the IPPIS is going to take away the autonomy of the universities as the law gives the governing councils of the universities and not the Office of the Accountant- Generalof theFederationthe powers to dictate the method of payment of salaries and emoluments.
He spoke at the tripartite meeting brokered by the House of Representatives on thelingeringseven-monthold strike by university lecturers. The ASUU President argued that the IPPIS payment system does not have a proper checking system that is capable of taking into account the peculiarities of the nation’s universitiesandisnotunique. Osodeke submitted that the Federal Government is paying a foreign company in billionsof nairatooperatethe IPPIS, adding that no nation willexposeitsacademicsdata to a foreign company. According to him, the Universities Miscellaneous Act 2012 gave the universities power to regulate its own activities and the Universities Autonomy Act 2013 specifically stated that the circulars from the government and its agenciesshouldnotdictatefor the ivory towers.
He queried why it would take the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) sixteen years to complete the verification of the system for seamless payment of all workers. But while countering the ASUU president’s presentation, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, said there was an audit of all the government agencies by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that recommend the payment system. She said the HOSCF office had completed the verification of the human resource component of the IPPIS and haddiscovereddiscrepancies in the age and qualifications of employees of the Federal Government. She added that the office is currently conducting verification of all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government on the payment system. On his own part, the Acting Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Okolkeaboh Sylva, said there was no basis for the employee to dictate to the employer the payment system for his or her entitlements.
He said the problem was that if the Federal Government adopts the University Transparency Solution System (UTAS) as being championed by the striking university teachers, other unions in the education sector will demand their own payment system. Also speaking at the meeting, the minister for labour and productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, who also restated the government’s position on the lingering industrial dispute by the university teachers said that the Trade Disputes Act gives the government right to dictate the wage of all classes of workers in Nigeria.