The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said on Tuesday integrity test on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) preferred payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) would be completed between six and eight weeks.
The union embarked on an indefinite strike in March over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and presented the UTAS as a more credible platform for payment of its members’ salaries and allowances.
Ngige, who spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was conducting the integrity test on the software.
He, however, said while the software was available, there was no hardware to back it up.
According to the minister, if the UTAS passed the NITDA integrity test, the university teachers do not have the required fund to procure the necessary hardware for its implementation.
He said the Federal Government did not make provision for the procurement of the UTAS hardware in the 2021 budget.
Ngige said: “The UTAS, that is the University Transparent System which they brought, is not yet ready.
“It is not fully ready, it is undergoing an integrity test for the software. I am not a computer scientist, but you must also know that you must test the hardware and the integrity test for the software.
“As we speak, ASUU has no hardware and UTAS does not have hardware backing.
“I am waiting for the NITDA’s full report but the preliminary report they gave me, the software integrity test will take them about six to eight weeks and thereafter, we go to the hardware.
“But the big issue is, who will provide the hardware?
“ASUU does not have the finances to do so. Has the government budgeted for it now as we speak? So, that one is a major problem. But we don’t have to dissuade anybody, we don’t have to tell anybody not to carry on, we like local content development, we need our things to be homegrown. So, we are really encouraging them.”
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