The Federal Government may stop the release of funds for the payment of January salaries to federal universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
The move is part of measures aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of the presidential directive on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
The IPPIS scheme is one of the Federal Government’s reform initiatives which were designed to achieve a centralised payroll system.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure that all employees of the Federal Government were enrolled on the IPPIS platform.
The development had made the government to open a three-week window for IPPIS enrolment between November 25 and December 7 across 43 universities.
The Accountant-General, Mr Ahmed Idris, had said out of the 94,990 university workers so far enrolled, about 8,146 of them were academic staff while the balance of 86, 844 were non-academic staff.
Branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in federal universities across the country had resisted the move, arguing that it was against universities autonomy.
The union had threatened to mobilise its members for a nationwide strike if the Federal Government stopped the salaries of lecturers for resisting enrolment on the IPPIS platform.
But in a letter to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Accountant-General of the Federation said the stoppage of the funds for January salaries to tertiary institutions would help to actualise the President’s directive on IPPIS.
The implication of this is that unlike in the past where bulk release of funds are made to the tertiary institutions for payment of salaries, such would no longer be the case.
This is because salaries of workers of tertiary institutions would now be paid from the IPPIS platform currently being managed by the Federal Government.
The letter with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/19/11/54 and signed by the Director, IPPIS, Mr Olusegun Olufehinti, on behalf of the Accountant-General of the Federation, was dated January 21, 2020.
It read in part, “I am directed to inform you that the preparation of January 2020 salary payroll and warrants of the federal tertiary institutions are ongoing and will be ready for submission on or before January 29,2020.
“This is to give effect to the directive of the Federal Government that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies drawing personnel costs from the Consolidated Revenue Fund should be enrolled on the IPPIS.
“In order to actualise this directive, you are please requested not to release the funds for payment of salaries to the tertiary institutions as their salaries will henceforth be paid on the IPPIS platform with effect from January 2020.”
A senior official in the Accountant-General office told our correspondent that once the approval was granted by the ministry, the university workers that were not on IPPIS platform would not get their January salaries.
The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities had during a recent visit to the Accountant-General raised some concerns about the recent enrolment of university staff into the IPPIS.
Some of the concerns include the autonomy of the universities, as well as the peculiarities of the university system which may not be effectively addressed by the government’s payroll system.
But Idris had assured them that their concerns had been factored into the IPPIS adding that there was no need for the universities workers to express worry.