The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said there will be no going back in paying university lecturers with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
He said the FG had lost N800bn to the old system of paying lecturers.
Ngige stated this in an interview with reporters in his Alor home in the Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He said, “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.
“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 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.”
Ngige said there were anomalies with GIFMIS, including cases of ghost workers and people receiving more than their due.
He said in the old payment order, taxes deducted by “bursars and vice-chancellors were not reflective of the taxes of Pay as You Earn.”
“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.
“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,” he stated.
He said the IPPIS would take care of all the shortcomings.
But the Academic Staff Union of Universities has said the allegations of N800bn by the Minister of Labour and Employment were baseless and the union had not refused any invitation from the government for negotiation during its ongoing strike action.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated these on Sunday in a reply to an enquiry by our correspondent.
He said, “ASUU has never declined invitation to negotiation meeting with government. What we asked government representatives to do was to send us their response to the last letter we sent to them.
“ASUU leadership has been holding Zoom meetings with their members. We need to be sure of what is coming from government before accepting to attend any meeting. How can they claim to have invited us to a meeting without clear agenda or any letter of invitation?
“On the N800bn, this is pure mischief. We are thoroughly embarrassed that such reckless and baseless allegation could be credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment.”