By Bakare Majeed
Abuja – The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said the Integrated Personnel Payment and Information System (IPPIS) failed the integrity test ordered by the Federal Government.
Usman Abdulahi, the Director of information infrastructure, disclosed this on Thursday during a meeting between the leadership of the House of Representatives and some agencies of the government on the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Those at the meeting held at the National Assembly complex were the Head of Service, Accountant General of the Federation, Director General of the National Income Salaries and Wages Commission and NITDA.
The leadership of the House had called for the parley after an earlier one with the leadership of ASUU on Tuesday.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said the House would present its outcome to President Muhammadu Buhari upon his return from the United States where he addressed the UN General Assembly.
One of the demands by ASUU is the adoption of the University Tertiary and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as against IPPIS for payment of the salaries of lecturers.
Abdulahi explained that UTAS failed the integrity on three occasions, while IPPIS failed the only test it was subjected to.
“In the first test, the system (UTAS) failed. The system could not meet the requirement. It was communicated to ASUU, full report was submitted directly to ASUU.
“The second report was submitted through the office of the Honourable Minister. ASUU went back, did the review that NITDA recommended.
“In the assessment, we did in March this year, we spent two weeks carrying out the assessment in the presence of observers. At the end of the exercise, UTAS failed the due diligence test.
“Of course, ASUU agreed to work on the solution and resubmit for assessment.
“Until when the Chief of Staff (Ibrahim Gambari) convened the tripartite committee when the third test was ordered.
“In the third round, we were asked to conduct the test on three payment systems – UTAS 2020, U3PS by SSANU and NASU, and IPPIS.
“The report is the outcome of the assessment we did. In this report, we have criteria. None of the solutions met NITDA criteria,” he said.
Abdulahi disclosed that NITDA did not conduct any test on IPPIS when it was launched because at the time IPPIS was introduced, the agency had no mandate to conduct integrity tests on solution platforms.
Speaking on the IPPIS platform, the Head of Service, Folashade Esan, said IPPIS is not just a payment platform but also a human resources platform.
She noted that the only reason the system failed the integrity is because NITDA only tested the payment component without the human resources component.
The Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), said the IPPIS is a foreign platform while UTAS is a locally developed system, hence, the government should prioritise and appreciate local content.
“The universities that we have are supposed to be centre of excellence and intellectual development. If they can develop a system for us—that will save us money—at a low cost, why are we fighting? Why are we quarrelling?
“They are saying they are doing this thing at free cost. If you find it worthy, why are you not using it? We need to have a rethink,” he said.
Reacting to the deputy speaker’s position, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh, said the database of UTAS is probably not a Nigerian product but probably Oracle. He added that government will not hand over its payroll system to any university.
“We don’t have a Nigerian database and when it comes to database, no one does it better than Oracle. I am not going to be surprised if UTAS is running on Oracle or SQS. None of them is a Nigerian product.
” We are all for Nigerian-made. If the argument is that UTAS is better than IPPIS, we can sit down on how to copy some things from UTAS to IPPIS.
“In the event that IPPIS is totally irredeemable, can we now take UTAS to replace IPPIS? This is totally different from ceding payroll system to any university.
“That ASUU is offering its system to the federal government, I am hearing that for the first time.”
Following the comments by all the agencies, Mr Gbajabiamila said there is a need to have an expanded meeting with ASUU next Thursday.
“There is a need for ASUU to be here because it is becoming your words against theirs. That test result put UTAS ahead of the curve compared to the others. ASUU is saying that no one is giving them results. We will need to sit down again with ASUU present. It is good to have both sides vent.”
Those invited for Thursday’s meeting were representatives of ASUU, Minister of Labour & Employment, DG Budget Office, Accountant General of the Federation and the Auditor General for the Federation.
Others are the DG of Salaries, Income & Wages Commission, DG of NITDA, the Head of Service and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. ( Premium Times)