The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has noted that implementing the transparent payment system, University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), might end its ongoing strike action.
In a statement, Dr Socrates Ebo, Chairperson of ASUU’s Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State chapter, bemoaned the government’s long-standing drive for corruption and claimed that UTAS has been shown to be an ideal payment platform.
He claims that it has been conclusively established that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is a porous, readily vulnerable payment platform.
The chairperson claimed that the IPPIS had been unhelpful in reducing resource waste, emphasizing that it had instead been utilized to bolster payrolls and carry out a variety of unauthorized deductions from employees’ paychecks.
He said, “We definitely can’t continue this way, the adoption of a transparent payment platform is critical to resolving the current impasse in the nation’s university system. UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform but the deep-rooted penchant for corruption in our government ethos is all out to frustrate its deployment.”
He claimed that no lecturer employed by IPPIS could give an accurate account of his pay, noting that they found it odd that some government officials insisted on using IPPIS despite its obvious flaws and propensity for corruption.
The statement questioned why the government would not be interested in a payment network that is cheaper, entirely indigenous, and completely corruption-proof given that UTAS has been intended to be impervious to it.
It claimed that the federation’s accountant-general would not have been able to steal N80 billion and N70 billion if IPPIS were impervious to corruption.
It alleged that IPPIS’s claims of savings are untrue, alleging that IPPIS arbitrarily reduces workers’ legal wages to hide its outrageously corrupt and inadequate operations in order to provide the appearance of efficiency and savings.
The statement stressed that 40 people in his branch alone have not received payment, even though the Minister of Labor believes they were paid three years in arrears, and that the recently paid minimum wage arrears are a case study because many people have not yet been paid.
He continued, emphasising that nobody knows what they are entitled to, nobody can ask anyone questions, and even the university bursars are unable to explain how the payments were made and what was paid; what they received was just nine months.
He advocated for the government to take education in the nation seriously, noting that in the 1960s and 1970s, the universities there were well regarded by their contemporaries and that researchers from all over the world came to their campuses to lecture and do research.
He bemoaned the fact that universities today are so dead that even politicians no longer have faith in them because they are sending their children abroad for the same education. He claimed that politicians are to blame for the decline of education in the nation because ASUU is the last line of defence for high-quality education in this nation.
The chairperson pointed out that when education is destroyed, healthcare is also destroyed, and that doctors are taught new techniques and skills at universities rather than at Aso Rock Clinic or the National Assembly. He also emphasized that everyone eventually gets sick and that everyone will experience the effects of a lack of educational infrastructure.