Journalism of Courage

Controversial ASUU payment platform, UTAS, faces another integrity test — Ngige

...says everything is on course to resolve the crisis between ASUU and the government


Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, said on Tuesday that the controversial University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform preferred by university lecturers instead of the federal government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is being looked into.

“UTAS which the universities developed has been subjected to test by the body responsible for that — the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) — which ran a user acceptance test.

“It is also called integrity and vulnerability test, but in their report, they pointed out to ASUU the areas of lapses in that platform which will not make it usable as presently configured.

“But ASUU has written back to NITDA to say that some of those observations were not correct,” Ngige told State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him about the ASUU 30-day warning strike.

According to him, everything is on course to resolve the crisis. recalls that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on February 14, 2022 began a warning strike for 30 days to press home their demands.

They are asking the government to accept UTAS as the platform for payment of their salaries but the government prefers IPPIS platform currently being used for the payment of salaries of all public and civil servants in the federal service.

Ngige said arrangements had been concluded for the technical teams of both NITDA and ASUU to meet and jointly conduct another test or repeat the test on the UTAS platform to find a solution to the impasse.

On the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with ASUU, Ngige said the federal government had so far paid over N92 billion as earned allowances and revitalisation fee to federal government owned universities across the country.

“Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation is that in that agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay N40 billion for (Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) for ASUU and other unions that has been paid.

“About N30 billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalization that also was paid late last year.

“N22.12 billion was agreed also in that December agreement to be paid from supplementary budget as Earned Allowances for 2021 that money was also paid last year.

“It was put in the supplementary budget which was passed around June-July and the money was remitted. So, the government has done that,” the minister explained.



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