The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its proposed industrial action over its disagreement with the Federal Government over the implementation of the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President, confirmed in an interview on Thursday that the union has halted its plan after the Senate intervened.
President Muhammadu Buhari had during the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly declared that employees of the Federal Government not captured on the IPPIS platform by 31 October would no longer be receiving their salaries.
This has, however, been rejected by ASUU, which insists that its members should not be viewed in the light of normal civil servants and that the IPPIS implementation encroaches on the semi-autonomy granted to Nigerian universities.
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Ogunyemi said the union had received assurances from the Senate that its members would receive their October emoluments, adding that ASUU’s next line of action would be based on the Federal Government’s decision.
“What we have been saying is that the reaction of our members will depend on what happens in the government. Our members will meet at the appropriate time to take appropriate decision.
“The Senate has intervened in the matter and we are engaging the Senate, the Senate has appealed to us for now, When they pay other workers, they pay them also,” Ogunyemi told the News Agency of Nigeria.
The ASUU President said the union has proposed an alternative platform to facilitate the capture of its members’ payment, noting that it has submitted the proposal to the Senate.
“The point we are making is that we have visited the Senate President, told him that there is an alternative to IPPIS, the IPPIS as we see it, will not promote the interest of the university, there is no university or country in the world where the payment of university workers is centralised with the government,” he said.
He insisted that it is an anomaly for government to centralise the payment of university lecturers, stating that such practice, if implemented, may discourage visiting teachers from other countries to lecture in Nigeria.
He added that the implementation of the IPPIS platform will affect the world ranking of Nigerian universities.
Ogunyemi said: “IPPIS will affect our ranking, because now scholars from different parts of the world will not be encouraged to come to Nigeria.
“Imagine somebody come for short six months and because of IPPIS he is not paid from three to four months, whereas, if they are domesticated in the universities, ASUU will pay them.
“Any university can attract scholars from any part of the world and you do not expect scholars to come from India, China, Australia, America or UK and be coming into Abuja to enroll in IPPIS.
“It is ridiculous, and that is what the autonomy means, that universities should govern their personnel, and their pay role system.
“We are saying it is not safe, we are going to become a laughing stock among committee of universities.
“In Ghana, there is something like IPPIS, but universities are not part of it. There is nowhere in the world that payroll is centralised and managed by consultants.”
He, however, noted that what the union wanted was a “Governing Council’ that would govern and manage the payroll of ASUU members.
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