The federal government of Nigeria has accused universities, of deliberately accommodating dead members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the payroll forwarded to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
This was revealed on Monday by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who was reacting to ASUU’s criticism of the IPPIS programme and accusations that government ended up paying dead members of the union.
According to Idris, ASUU was engaging in “cheap propaganda to denigrate IPPIS for obvious reasons” stating further that the affected university managements were to be blamed as they sent in lists containing deceased personnel for payment.
Mr Idris who accused the unnamed universities of fraud said; “On the alleged payment to dead university staff, it means the Institutions deliberately forwarded to IPPIS the list containing dead ASUU members as being part of their personnel, to get more personnel fund,” Mr Idris said.
“When President directed that ASUU be paid, the OAGF sent a letter, through NUC Executive Secretary, requesting for the list of ASUU members through their VCs. We run BVN (Bank Verification Number) test on the list forwarded to us as we are aware that we cannot use the old nominal roll because of changes that might have likely taken place.
“It is the responsibility of the Institutions or Agencies to inform the IPPIS office about death, resignation or exit from service before due date. We sent payroll analysis to the tertiary institution Bursars for review of any omission or names to be excluded.
“This issue is a cheap propaganda by ASUU to denigrate IPPIS for obvious reasons,” he added.
The Federal Government also accused university lecturers in the country of under paying the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax running into billions of Naira over the years, and that the lecturers have also been earning illegal allowances they arm twisted their institutions to pay them.
The OAGF said “the rate of tax being applied by tertiary institutions was not correct, leading to underpayment of PAYE Tax.”
It also added that because of the underpayment, “state governments made claims on the Federal Government to pay the differential arising from underpayment of tax by these institutions.”
Bowing to pressure from the state governments, the OAGF said that the “Federal Government has paid several billions on behalf of these institutions because of their underpayment of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax.”
Continuing, the OAGF categorically said that “the request by the tertiary institution unions to formalise tax evasion through Integrated Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is not only untenable, but also an unpatriotic request to violate extant laws on tax.”
Commenting on the demand for Bank Verification Number (BVN) from ASUU members before they can be paid, the OAGF said that about 1,180 ASUU members “failed the BVN test and details have been forwarded to the universities for the necessary correction and update.
“BVN as a way of confirming all account numbers of the tertiary institutions that are sent to IPPIS were forwarded to the relevant agencies for validation and confirmation”, but over a thousand ASUU members bungled their information.
Clarifying why some lecturer are yet to be paid while others have received their salaries, the Accountant General said “this arose because the names on the payroll are not in uniformity with the names in the bank. Employees are expected to update their bank details in conformity with names on the payroll, as effort to change payroll names in the banks is not allowed, except where there is a change of name as a result of marriage.”
The IPPIS platform, according to the OAGF “does not recognise joint accounts operated by two or more persons. Every salary payment is personal.”
Also reacting to payment of allowances and salaries, the OAGF insisted that “any other salaries and allowances approved by any other agency in Nigeria, which are not formalised by the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (SIWC), will amount to illegal payment.”
Therefore, the OAGF urged ASUU and other unions to understand this.
“The fact that they arm-twisted their institutions to pay them these allowances does not translate to legality.”
On payments for sabbatical visits and adjunct lecturers, the OAGF stated that “payment of sabbatical and visiting lecturers is duly recognised by IPPIS, but it is dependent on furnishing the IPPIS with the particulars of such lecturers, including his IPPIS number, his primary institution, the start date of the sabbatical or the visiting and the end date.”
The OAGF further explained that it “recognises the fact that all workers on sabbatical are entitled to 100 per cent of their salaries as sabbatical allowances, while visiting and adjunct lecturers will enjoy 50 per cent of their salaries as visiting allowance.”
It however warned that “government will no longer incur unnecessary expenditure on pension, NHIS or such allowances that are not part of universities pensionable salaries.”
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