The Federal Executive Council has approved the exemption of federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and monotechnics from the Integrated Personnel Payment System (IPPIS) for staff salary and allowance payments. Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, made this announcement during a briefing, stating that the directive takes immediate effect. The move aims to streamline the payment process and eliminate the need for vice-chancellors to travel to Abuja for salary processing. This decision comes after prolonged conflicts between the government and workers’ unions, particularly the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which rejected IPPIS due to concerns about university autonomy and developed its payment platform called University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Background on ASUU’s Opposition to IPPIS
ASUU’s resistance to IPPIS led to a strike in 2020, triggered by the government’s insistence that lecturers enroll in the system. The union argued that IPPIS did not accommodate the unique features of universities. ASUU developed UTAS as an alternative, emphasizing its benefits to both public and private universities. The strike, lasting several months, was suspended after intervention by prominent individuals, but the payment platform issue persisted. ASUU accused the government of encroaching on university autonomy and criticized the Head of Service of the Federation for interfering in university affairs. The government’s recent decision to exempt tertiary institutions from IPPIS is seen as a step toward resolving the prolonged disputes and fostering peace in the education sector.