The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has appoved the exemption of public tertiary institutions, including universities, from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Systems (IPPS).
Minister of Education, Professor Mamman Tahir, who disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday after the week’s FEC meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja, also said Council relieved managements of tertiary institutions of the burden of obtaining approval and waiver from the Office of the Head of Federal Civil Service for recruitment.
He stressed that the exemption of tertiary institutions from the IPPIS platform and from seeking Head of Civil Service’s authority for recruitment would allow the institutions to deal with salary issues of their staff, as well as recruitment internally.
According to him, FEC took the decision to remove the institutions from the IPPIS system because of its concern for efficiency and the management of the institutions.
Tahir, added that apart from the opposition to the payment system by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the IPPS issue had proved time consuming for university vice chancellors.
The Minister explained that as the tertiary institutions are governed by laws, they should be allowed to exercise their autonomy.
His words: “It was a very happy day for the education sector because one of the problems which the vice chancellors, rectors and provosts of colleges of education, those managing the tertiary sector in Nigeria, have been complaining about has been the subscription to the IPPIS.
“You know what IPPIS does, which has made recruitment and many other activities of the university remitting to personnel very difficult. Now today’s Council decided, the President has directed that vice chancellor should no longer…they have been taken out of that service. So this is a very, very important development for the vice chancellors that will allow for efficient management of the universities and tertiary education generally speaking.
“Then secondly, which is connected to that, before now when the tertiary institutions want to make an appointment, they have to write to the Office of the Head of Service for waiver or approval or that sort of thing.
“Today, the Council, through the directive of the President, has exempted them. They don’t have to go to the Office of the Head of Service because it is actually not in their line of supervision.
Shedding more light on FEC approval on IPPIS, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris, said “today, the universities and other tertiary institutions have gotten a very big relief from the integrated personnel payroll and information system. You will recall that the university authorities and the others have been clamouring for the exemption of the universities and other tertiary institutions from this system.
“Today, council has graciously approved that. What that means is that going forward, the universities like the Honorable Minister of Education has said and other tertiary institutions, the polytechnics and colleges of education will be taken off the IPPIS.
“What that means in simple language is that the university authorities and other tertiary institutions will now be paying their own personnel from their own end instead of relying on the IPPIS”, he said.
The IPPIS had been a bone of contention between university lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2020, ASUU, which went on a eight-month strike due to disputes with the Federal Government regarding the payment platform opted for the University Transparency Account System (UTAS).
The IPPIS was introduced by the federal government in October 2006 as part of its reform initiatives to effectively store personnel records and promote transparency and accountability.
Also on Wednesday, FEC approved the sum of N2.2 billion to procure some navigational communication equipment for Port Harcourt International Airport.
Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, in his press briefing after the Council meeting explained that the equipment to be procured is mainly for communication and is called remote assets devices and other accessories to be used for the wide-area multilateral air traffic management system.
He said: “The memo to Council has to do with some navigational equipment at the Port Harcourt International Airport. The communication equipment. They call them the VHF FM radios, remote assets, devices and other accessories for the wide area multilateration air traffic management system at Port Harcourt.
“What we want to do is that once we concentrate on the part of aviation that attracts the optics or call the optics to clean toilets, the buildings go there arrival halls and all of that, that the public will want to see we see all the time. There are very complex issues behind the scenes that have to do with the safety of our air spaces and all of that.”
Keyamo stressed that the equipment will focus on the optic part of the aviation industry, facilitating more travellers’ safety.
“So we are purchasing this equipment for topcoats international airports at the sum of 2,227,000,007 Naira inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of nine months and it has been awarded in favour of a company that is the representative of one of the best companies in the world that produce such navigation such communication equipment for the aviation sector”.
Stemming on the above, we laud President Bola Tinubu administration for understanding the plight of ASUU’s pursuit for the removal of IPPIS as a payment platform for Universities and other tertiary institutions in the country; which the former administration of Muhammad Buhari through his Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, used to stifle the educational system in the country.