May pay minimum wage arrears to varsity workers this week

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA–PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA to subject the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System, IPPIS and the two other proposed payment solutions proposed by University workers to integrity test.

This is as the Federal Government is making efforts towards ensuring that the Consiquential Adjustment/ minimum wage arrears are paid to the striking university workers this week in order to persuade them call off the ongoing strike.

Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and the non teaching staff Joint Action Committee, JAC, comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, have lamented that they were being shortchanged in their salary payment since the government introduced IPPIS as the official payment platform.

As an alternative, ASUU proposed to the government the University Transparency Accountability Solution, UTAS, while SSANU and NASU on their own, proposed the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System, U3PS.

SSANU and NASU claimed that the proposed  U3PS

accommodate the peculiarities in the Nigerian University system as it handles all employees’ financial records in a hassle-free, automated fashion. 

The peculiarities include employees’ salaries, bonuses, deductions, net pay, generation of pay-advice and other financial reports using accounting best practices and also seek to essentially automate those micro administrative tasks performed by accountant general office and bursars of federal institutions, thereby giving the office the mental bandwidth to focus on the macro.

In a tripartite plus meeting attended by the leadership of the university-based unions including the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and other relevant stakeholders, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari directed NITDA to subject the three payment solutions to integrity test.

The Tripartite Plus meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, gave NITDA three weeks to carry out the integrity test and report back the results.

A source at the meeting hinted that the Chief of Staff during the closed-door session pleaded with the university unions to go back to their duty posts while discussions will be ongoing to address all their concerns but the workers were adamant insisting that the strike would only be called off when the federal government honours agreement reached.

However, a source at the meeting told Vanguard that the Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige was mounting pressure to the relevant government agencies to ensure that some of the contentious issues are addressed as soon as possible.

The source said, “we rebuffed all the plea by the Chief of Staff for us to call off the strike. There was nothing on the table for us to do so. However, we heard that the Minister of Labour is making effort to ensure that the minimum wage arrears and the consequential adjustment are paid. We are waiting.

“We know that the Minister is trying his best to conciliate but after memorandum of understanding and memorandum of action are entered into, the government will fail to implement them and will turn back to blame the unions.”

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