The Federal Government yesterday made good its threat to stop the salaries of all its workers, especially members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who are not featured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
President Muhammadu Buhari had while presenting the 2020 budget proposal to the National Assembly, declared: “I have directed the stoppage of the salary of any Federal Government staff (sic) that is not captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform by the end of October 2019.”
With the development, the affected workers would not only fail to receive their salaries this month and the next, but they also face the prospect of a cash-strapped Christmas celebration.
Following Tuesday’s National Economic Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had told reporters: “It is a pity if ASUU carries out this strike because what ASUU is saying now is that they should be treated differently from other staff of the government of Nigeria who is also on IPPIS. We will be engaging ASUU. We will be discussing it with them. But at the end of the day, as far as I am concerned, my instruction is from the president.”
Efforts to speak with Zainab and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, whose office oversees the IPPIS, were unsuccessful as they were reportedly involved in a marathon meeting on the matter.
A top functionary of the ministry, however, told The Guardian: “There is no going back on the decision to cut off all MDAs, ASUU inclusive. There is no sparing anyone because this is a policy of government. There is nothing such as shifting grounds on this matter. The action has now been affected, in line with the order of the president.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said further: “If there is going to be a review tomorrow, I don’t know. But for now, that is the resolution. The minister and all the relevant officials have met on this and have effected the cut-off.”
The official condemned the penchant of ASUU members for receiving several salaries monthly from different institutions. This, he said, was the basis of their objection to IPPIS, which according to him is designed to stop the practice.
He said it was annoying that a section of the workforce would attempt to sabotage a system that has helped to stem corruption in the public service.
ASUU, meanwhile, suspended its planned strike yesterday, with its president, Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosing that the union had come up with an alternative pay system for its members. According to him, the proposal would be university-based and could be easily monitored by governing councils.