The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has observed that resolving its ongoing strike action could be done by the adoption of the transparent payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS).
Dr Socrates Ebo, Chairperson of ASUU, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State chapter, in a statement, lamented that the deep-rooted penchant for corruption within government ethos is all out to frustrate its deployment, saying that UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform.
According to him, the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), has been decisively proven to be a porous, easily compromised payment platform.
The chairperson opined that the IPPIS has been ineffective in curtailing waste of resources, stressing that on the contrary it has been used to pad payrolls and used to effect all manner of fraudulent deductions from workers’ salaries.
He explained, “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 stated that no lecturer under IPPIS can say for certain what his salary is, pointing out that what they find queer is the insistence of some government officials on the use of IPPIS when it is proven to be compromised and corruption-prone.
The statement noted that UTAS has been designed to be corruption-proof, asking why the government would not be interested in a payment platform that is cheap, 100% corruption-proof, and 100% indigenous.
It stated that if IPPIS was corruption-proof, the accountant-general of the federation would not have been able to loot N80 billion and N70 billion.
It said the statement claimed of savings by IPPIS are fraudulent, saying that IPPIS arbitrarily cuts workers’ legitimate salaries to cover its heavily corrupt and inefficient tracks to create the false impression of efficiency and savings.
The statement explained that the recently paid minimum wage arrears are a case study as many persons have not been paid till date, stressing that in his branch alone, 40 persons have not been paid while the Minister of Labour thinks that they were paid three years arrears.
He added that what they received was a mere nine months without any clear template on how the payments were made, stressing that nobody knows what they are entitled to, nobody can ask questions to anybody and even the university bursars can’t explain how the payments were made and what was paid.
He suggested that the government should get serious with education in the country, saying that in the 60s and 70s, the universities ranked high among their peers with scholars all over the world coming to their universities to teach and study.
He lamented that today, the universities are so dead that even their politicians no longer believe in them as they now send their wards abroad for the same education, saying that they are the people killing education in the country as ASUU is the only bastion of defence for quality education in this country.
The chairperson noted that when education is destroyed, healthcare is also destroyed, and doctors are taught new procedures and skills at the universities, not at Aso Rock Clinic or National Assembly, pointing out that eventually, everyone gets sick and everyone eventually suffers consequences of the dearth of educational infrastructure.