Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, says the federal government lost N800 billion to the old system in which university lecturers were being paid — before the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was introduced.
Ngige, who spoke with Journalists at his Alor home in Idemili South local government area of Anambra state on Sunday, averred that there would be no going back in paying lecturers with the IPPIS.
According to him, the introduction of the IPPIS has brought an end to the various irregularities that characterised the old system in which university lecturers were being paid.
The minister alleged that the reaction of the Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) to the use of IPPIS was largely due to the attendant changes the initiative brought in the payment process.
“What ASUU is saying is laughable. Your employers will dictate how they will pay you. They can decide to pay you with a cheque which you sign in your regional office every month and you take your salary and go. They can decide to do electronic transfer. You bring your account number and they do a transfer electronically to you,” he said.
“But for some strange reasons, this has become an issue with the Academic Staff Union of Universities. They claimed they were being migrated from the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform into the IPPIS.
“The Federal Government pays their salaries and the Federal Government says ‘we are losing a lot of money paying you from the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform because the GIFMIS platform only transmits money for your salaries to the university system, bursar’s office and from there they pay you.”
The minister also pointed out that the use of GIFMIS was fraught with several anomalies which include cases of ghost workers and people receiving more than their due.
“They are not and because they are not, the shortfall in the taxes they deducted, the various state governments were those universities are domiciled have petitioned the Joint Tax Board to demand for this shortfall to be paid by the Federal Government, which is the principal employer of these university teachers,” he added.
“And over sometime, that has accumulated into about N800bn which the Joint Tax Board has billed the Federal Government as money that have not been paid to those sub-national governments, the state governments.”
The federal government and ASUU have been at loggerheads since the introduction of the IPPIS.
While the federal government claimed the move was to promote transparency in the payment process, ASUU argued that the initiative threatens its autonomy.