The Federal Government, yesterday, exempted universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). It said, henceforth, remunerations to staff members of these institutions would no longer flow through the platform.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja. Government reasoned that the IPPIS does not afford tertiary institutions the freedom to run their affairs.

Idris said: “Today (yesterday), the universities and other tertiary institutions have got a very big relief from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. You will recall that university authorities and others have been clamouring for exemption from this system.

“Today (yesterday), Council has graciously approved that. What that means in simple language, is that the university authorities and other tertiary institutions will now pay their personnel from their own end instead of relying on the IPPIS.”

Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, who rationalised the decision, noted that the goal was to allow for efficient running of public educational institutions nationwide.

He argued that yesterday’s move was not connected to the integrity of IPPIS, University Transparency and Accountability Solution or other similar systems advocated by various bodies.

The minister submitted: “Simply, the President and Council are just concerned about the efficiency of management of the universities, and so it has nothing to do with integrity or platform options.

“The President cannot understand why vice chancellors should be leaving their duty posts and run to Abuja to get staff enlisted on IPPIS when they get recruited.

“The basic concern is that universities are governed by laws. And those laws give them autonomy in certain respects, and the IPPIS has sort of eroded that autonomy granted universities in accordance with their Acts.”

Meanwhile, lecturers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Congress of University Academics (CONUA), yesterday, hailed the decision, observing that the journey to full university autonomy may have begun.

ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said the new administration had demonstrated genuine concern for the sector. He pleaded with the current administration to resolve all pending issues relating to salaries and implementation of agreements for Nigerian universities to favourably compete with their counterparts globally.

In the same vein, CONUA national president, Niyi Sunmonu, expressed the hope that the government would not move lecturers to another platform that might impede smooth running of activities in the academia.

He said if migrating lecturers to another payment platform was going to give university administrators some measure of control over their finances, then, the move “is a gradual step to full autonomy for the institutions.”

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