• Saturday, May 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

EXPLAINER: What is IPPIS? What is UTAS?

EXPLAINER: What is IPPIS? What is UTAS?

What is IPPIS

The federal government of Nigeria in October 2006 introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as one of its reform programmes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.

According to top government staff, the aim was to buttress the government’s commitment to efficient and effective service delivery. “Our main aim is to pay accurately and on time within statutory and contractual regulations. We aim to provide a payroll service that is customer-focused and that utilizes technology wherever possible.”

As at June 2020, there were 696 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAS) on the IPPIS platform. The department is responsible for processing and payment of salaries to over one million (1,139,633) federal government employees across the 696 MDAs.

The goal of IPPIS as a payment system is to enroll into the platform, all the federal government MDAs that draws personnel cost fund from the consolidated revenue fund. Since the inception of the IPPIS project in April 2007, the department has saved the federal government billions of Naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.

Why IPPIS?

The choice of IPPIS as a payment system is copied from what is obtainable in other parts of the world where Information Communication Technology (ICT) is used to improve management reporting. It was established to help the government track ghost workers in its payment system.

The World Bank-financed the pilot phase in February 2006 upon the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).

However, the project went live in April 2007 with seven pilot MDAs, with their management transferred to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in October 2008.

The pilot MDAs are the federal ministry of education; federal ministry of transportation (works arm); federal ministry of finance; budget office of the federation; federal ministry of information; ministry of foreign affairs; and national planning commission.

Prior to their registration, the nominal rolls of the seven pilot MDAs submitted indicated 55,000 staff, hence World Bank paid for 55,000 licenses. However, after their enrolment into the scheme, it was discovered that their total staff strength was 32,000, resulting to 11 MDAs being brought on board in July 2009 to optimise the 55,000 licenses purchased.

The federal executive council has seen the benefits of the scheme, especially in the area of savings to the government in its meeting on Wednesday 1 December 2010 approved the enrolment of all MDAs that draw their personnel cost from the consolidated revenue fund (CRF) into the IPPIS.

The phase II service-wide implementation commenced under the platform of new software called Oracle Application in September 2011 in batches and is being financed by the federal government of Nigeria. As of April 2018, 490 MDAs, including the Nigeria Police and other paramilitary agencies have been enrolled into IPPIS with total staff strength of over 700,000 employees.

What is UTAS?

However, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) preferred a payment option known as the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative to IPPIS.

In fact, about 711 ministries, departments, and agencies of government in Nigeria are on the IPPIS platform, but ASUU insists on being the only one standing out.

Read also: ASUU strike: Commuters groan as protesting students block Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

ASUU maintains that the federal government must pull out of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and begin to use the University Transparency, Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform.

According to ASUU, the IPPIS is a foreign policy that does improve the tertiary education system. The lecturers’ job is intellectual unlike other jobs out there. The union claimed that the federal government rejected the UTAS proposed by the lecturers because it was developed by Nigerians.

The union reiterated that ASUU considers the IPPIS payment system as uncongenial with the modus operandi of the university system, given the peculiarities of universities. Insisting that UTAS mode of employment, retirement age, sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements, part-time engagements, contract engagements, and others are concepts that are unique to the university, and obviously alien to IPPIS.

ASUU frowned on the fact that the federal government subjected UTAS to a series of integrity tests, yet no such test was conducted on IPPIS. Hence, they believe that the test on UTAS indicates that Nigerians cannot solve their problem.

According to ASUU, “Government is not comfortable with UTAS because it was developed by Nigerians. What a shame!”

And in order to ensure UTAS gain wider acceptability in the Nigerian universities, ASUU has updated the end-users of the solution in the federal government’s-owned universities’ bursary units on what the union termed “merits of its use” against the present PPIS being deployed for the institutions.