A software firm, Soft Alliance and Resources Limited, Lagos, has said it is only the university workers that are complaining about the efficiency of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, Director, Business Development, Soft Alliance and Resources Limited, Kola Lasaki, stated that over 100 Ministries, Departments and Agencies made use of the IPPIS as a payment platform, adding that it came as a surprise when the unions alleged that IPPIS was an imported solution.
Lasaki revealed that the company had offices in Ikeja, Lagos, Bayelsa, and Ekiti, saying they were being patronised by many state governments.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities had demanded the suspension of IPPIS alleging that some of its members have suffered from either short-payment or non-payment of their salaries.
This request was one of the demands of the university workers which led to the ongoing strike.
As a means of finding a solution to the several challenges encountered by these workers, the two unions made efforts to create payment solutions.
ASUU created the University Transparency and Accountability Solution while SSANU and NASU created University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System.
ASUU also declared that the strike would not be suspended until the government addresses the adoption of UTAS.
While declaring the first phase of its strike on February 14, 2022, ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke lamented that ‘‘It is common knowledge that the IPPIS is a cesspool of corruption which glaringly and effectively undermines the autonomy of the Nigerian University System. This payment platform was unilaterally imposed by the FGN, further compounding the multi-faceted problems of our universities. The imposition of the IPPIS undermines the universal tradition of the sabbatical leave system, visiting and adjunct appointments, and other essential aspects of university autonomy by attempting to integrate the financial and bureaucratic administration of the universities into the Nigerian Civil Service structure. Our union insists that the IPPIS is incompatible with the peculiar attributes and operations of the public university system. We shall continue to resist it.
“The imposition of this grotesque platform challenged our union to develop an alternative system to IPPIS – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution. This locally developed and cost-effective alternative payment platform has the distinct capacity to check corruption and preserve the hard-earned autonomy of Nigerian universities for the good of the country. Regrettably, the FGN is still foot-dragging over its adoption, contrary to an earlier agreement with our union, thereby allowing the financial chaos heralded by IPPIS to continue.
However, Lasaki, said, “It is an indigenous company built by Nigerian engineers. There is misinformation by those alleging that IPPIS is foreign-developed software. It was built in Nigeria and supported by Nigerian engineers and hoisted in Nigeria and it was done in the light of maintaining a low budget.
“The company is about 17 years since 2004. It is not only Nigerian universities that are on the platform. Everyone in the different MDAs, over 100 MDAs are not complaining about IPPIS but only university workers. If you ply a road and everyone is using the solution and you are on board saying the application can’t do this and that.
“So many things can account for you not getting what you think you should get in terms of your salary. In IPPIS all taxes are harmonised, if you have been short-paying government, with IPPIS, you can’t do that.
“There is verifiable evidence to show that all the requirements from ASUU bordering on secondary assignment, sabbatical, visiting, adjunct activities, etc have been adequately addressed in the Software. We need to sit and check where the problems are and resolve them.’’
The three software; IPPIS, UTAS and U3PS are currently undergoing integrity tests by the National Information Technology Development Agency.