December 14, 2023

Removal of varsities from IPPIS will birth new system — VCs committee

Removal of varsities from IPPIS will birth new system — VCs committee

The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has applauded the decision of the Federal Government on the removal of universities from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The Secretary-General of the committee, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.

He spoke on the sidelines of a one-day workshop for advancement and alumni officers of Nigerian universities.

Recall that the approval for the removal was given by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa.

Ochefu said the removal would birth a new university system.

“Universities in other parts of the world don’t depend on government funding like that; what the government gives is a lump sum grant to these universities, and universities, in addition to those grants, will look for resources elsewhere to fund their operations.

“This cannot happen overnight; you don’t wean the baby just like that; there is a transition period.

“So autonomy is in the law establishing universities, and the role of government is to co-fund universities by giving grants, supporting students to pay their tuition, and encouraging endowments, so this is a global practice,” he said.

The secretary-general noted that the committee had an interface with the minister sometime in August on the challenges faced by Nigerian universities.

“When the CVC met with the Minister of Education in August, we told him very clearly that IPPIS cannot exist within our Nigerian university systems because of the way their operations are calibrated. IPPIS cannot cope.

“This is because our system is very dynamic. In a system, there may be a need to hire one lecturer to teach one course, or you may need to hire someone to teach for a session after which you are done with it, so the flexibility is such that it is dynamic.

“A lecturer who started lecture at the beginning of the semester may fall ill and may need to hire another to cover for the professor in any part of the semester.

“IPPIS does not accommodate this kind of flexibility that the system requires, and that is why we said this thing is antithetical to the way universities are operated,” he said.

“We commend the minister for this feat because, as a former vice chancellor, he understands the dynamics of how the system operates.

“You cannot say that you must get approval from the Head of Service before you appoint a cleaner; it doesn’t work that way.

“That has never been the system, so this is a major development for us in the university system, and we applaud the minister for being able to convince the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of our cry,” he said.

NAN reports that the Federal Government introduced the IPPIS in 2006 as one of its reform initiatives for the effective storage of personnel records.

The IPPIS initiative was expanded to include all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) that draw personnel costs from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had in the past rejected the reform and been at loggerheads with the federal government over the continuous use of IPPIS for the payment of university lecturers’ entitlements. (NAN)

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