The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the union kicked against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a salary payment platform because of many alleged flaws associated with it.
Dr Ogugua Egwu, the chairperson of ASUU in the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ikwo Local Government Area, Ebonyi disclosed this in a press release issued on Thursday in Abakaliki.
According to him, the platform has been discovered to be uncertified in line with the extant law guiding financial transactions and services in Nigeria.
He bemoaned the huge financial loss the government had incurred since it came into power in 2015 as a result of the loopholes and horrifying weaknesses of the payment platform.
He argued that Nigeria would have had more than enough to cater for all her domestic needs and even lend to other countries but for the numerous leakages in IPPIS.
He said that Nigeria could have also saved more if it had not deployed uncertified payment platforms including; Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
He said that the recent revelation by Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy on non-certification of the payment platforms has justified the stance and position of the union on the use of IPPIS for paying salaries of university lecturers.
“ASUU expresses surprise at the shocking revelations made on Friday, August 13, by the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami, that the payment platforms which this administration deployed for both payment of salaries and receipt of its revenue, were never tested or certified by relevant government agencies before they were deployed,” he said.
He said that it was only an irresponsible and profligate government that could only engage in the such absurdity of financial recklessness.
He wondered why it took the FG this long to come to the belated realisation, stressing that ASUU from day one, had kicked against the IPPIS because of the many weaknesses the experts from the union detected in the software.
Egwu explained that the union promptly communicated to the government the weaknesses inherent in the IPPIS, maintaining that because many insiders in government were using the platform as a ‘cash-cow’ the government never took ASUU’s complaints and protests seriously.
He charged Nigerian parents and students in public universities in the country to hold the FG responsible for the pains they have suffered and the huge academic time they have lost staying at home.
“Why did it take the Federal Government almost an academic year to join ASUU in publicly declaring that IPPIS is a fraudulent payment platform?
“ASUU has finally been vindicated by their adversaries in government that IPPIS has not only created more problems than it came to solve but has equally impoverished the country, thereby turning our dear nation into a rag-tag beggar.
“Pantami has openly told the world that at the time of deployment of IPPIS that it did not follow the required NITDA standardisation process, Information Technology (IT) clearance and certification.
“But, strangely enough, however, when the government challenged ASUU to develop an alternative payment platform better than IPPIS, the union did so without wasting time by developing the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
” The platform has also been subjected to rigorous test with a cumulative performance score of 99.3 per cent, of which our Union is still contesting the 0.7 per cent the government withheld while testing it.
” Nigerians are hereby charged once again to ask Dr Chris Ngige and Mr Festus Keyamo, the minister and minister for State, Labour and Employment respectively why they have been misinforming both the government and the public about the efficacy of UTAS.
“Let the government be courageous enough to end their blame and waiting games by yielding to the demands of ASUU for our students to return to school,” the statement added.
The lecturers in the Nigerian public universities embarked on a nationwide strike on February 14 over the FG’s failure to implement the signed 2009 agreement between her and the union.