By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
YENAGOA-THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has stated that the adoption of a transparent payment platform University Transparency and Accountability Solutions,UTAS, is critical to resolving the current strike action by the Union.
According to ASUU, UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform but lamented that the deep-rooted penchant for corruption within government ethos are all out to frustrate its deployment.
Chairperson of ASUU, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State chapter, Dr Socrates Ebo, in a statement in Yenagoa, weekend, on stated that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System,IPPIS, has been decisively proven to be a porous easily compromised payment platform.
According to Ebo, the IPPIS has been ineffective in curtailing waste of resources, adding that in the contrary it has been used to pad payrolls and used to effect all manner of fraudulent deductions from workers’ salaries.
He said: “We definitely can’t continue this way, the adoption of a transparent payment platform is critical to resolving the current impasse in the nation’s university system. UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform but the deep-rooted penchant for corruption in our government ethos is all out to frustrate its deployment.
“No lecturer under IPPIS can say for certain what his salary is. What we find queer is the insistence of some government officials on the use of IPPIS when it is proven to be compromised and corruption-prone.
“UTAS has been designed to be corruption proof. Why would the government not be interested in a payment platform that is cheap, 100% corruption proof, and 100% indigenous? If IPPIS was corruption proof, how would it be possible for a government accountant to loot N80b plus N70b? How could such huge sums disappear under any serious payment platform?
“The claims of savings by IPPIS are fraudulent. IPPIS arbitrarily cuts workers’ legitimate salaries to cover its heavily corrupt and inefficient tracks to create the false impression of efficiency and savings.
“The recently paid minimum wage arrears are a case study. So many persons have not been paid till date. In my branch alone, 40 persons have not been paid. While the Minister of Labour thinks that we were paid 3 years arrears, what we received was mere 9 months without any clear template on how the payments were made. Nobody knows what they are entitled to, nobody can ask questions to anybody. Even the university bursars can’t explain how the payments were made and what was paid.
“The government should get serious with education in this country. In the 60s and 70s, our universities ranked high among our peers. Scholars all over the world were coming to our universities to teach and study.
“Today, our universities are so dead that even our politicians no longer believe in them. They now send their wards abroad for the same education. Yet these are the people killing education in the country. ASUU is the only bastion of defence for quality education in this country.
“Unfortunately when you destroy education you also destroy healthcare. Doctors are taught new procedures and skills at the universities, not at Aso Rock Clinic or National Assembly. Eventually, everyone gets sick and everyone eventually suffers the consequences of the dearth of educational infrastructure.”