The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, December 16, approved the exemption of tertiary institutions, including universities, from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Systems (IPPS).
The Minister of Education, Professor Mamman Tahir, who disclosed this to journalists after the week’s FEC meeting, also said the Council relieved managements of tertiary institutions of the burden of obtaining approval and waiver from the Office of the Head of Service for recruitment.
According to the Minister, the exemption of tertiary institutions from the IPPIS platform and from seeking the 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.
He said the FEC decided to remove the institutions from the IPPIS system because it was concerned with efficiency and the management of the institutions.
According to him, 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.
He said: “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, that the President has directed that the 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.
The IPPIS had been a bone of contention between university lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2020, ASUU, which went on an 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.
Giving a bit more clarity to the approval of 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 others have been clamouring for the exemption of universities and other tertiary institutions from this system.
“Today, the council has graciously approved that. What that means is that going forward, the universities as 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.