By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Thursday night, agreed to integrate University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.
The minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this after about four hours of engagement between both parties.
He said the two parties will reconvene on Monday after the union has deliberated with its National Executive Council, NEC.
The President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who concurred with the minister, said the union’s NEC will review the conditions for the integration of UTAS into IPPIS.
Senator Ngige said: “I am pleased to inform you that with the four ministers and permanent secretaries, Accountant-General of the Federation and directors, Acting Chairman, National Income and Wages Commission and ASUU Presidents and executive, we held very fulfilling discussions.
“And where necessary we debated, put forward our points and the Union’s side. Issues we discussed and we used the memorandum of action, which we entered into in February 2019, to look at issues that are outstanding; issues that have not been fully addressed.
“And both sides were satisfied that we made reasonable progress in addressing the few issues that have not been fully treated. Therefore, we move to the next round of a new contentious issue, which is the issues bordering on the non-capturing of some ASUU members on the IPPIS platform.
“This resulted in the withholding of salaries and allowances of most ASUU members; those who did not come under the platform and even some other university non-academic staff members.
“Discussions were open and both sides realised that we are working for our country and that whatever arrangement we put in place would be for a better Nigeria. ASUU has developed UTAS, and we have had some preliminary agreements on what is to be done to accommodate the two systems.
“And ASUU have now to get back to their members, consult the executive committee first and all their members so that they can agree on the modus operandi of trying to couple the two systems.
“In that respect, we are continuing discussions. So the meeting is adjourned till Monday and Tuesday, pending on when ASUU is ready. For us, we have made progress. We thank the legislature for earlier this morning. Our meeting also helped us to smoothen some rough areas.”
The ASUU President, on his part, said: “From our own side, we would say that we had a frank session; frank engagement and issues were thrown up.
“Those issues, like the minister rightly mentioned, came from outstanding issues in the February 2019 Memorandum of Action, which has tended to be overshadowed by IPPIS.
“From the discussion we had, we agreed that we will go and consult. That we cannot pronounce on the proposals that came up until we consult with our members.”