Ahmed Idris - AGF

AGF calls out ASUU over IPPIS Controversy

By Daniel Ayantoye

The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris has described as baseless claims by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that IPPIS was deducting Salaries and Allowances.

In a statement obtained by CAMPUS FOCUS on Tuesday, 19th May, 2020, signed by Director, Information, Press and Public Relations, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) Henshaw Ogubike, said IPPIS applied the correct rate in compliance with Section 34 of the 6th schedule on personal income tax (Amendment) Act of 2011.

The Statement reads: “The attention of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) has been drawn to series of reports on claims by tertiary institutions unions, led by ASUU, that IPPIS was deducting their salaries and allowances to the extent that their take home is now only 50% or less of what they earn.

“It is pertinent that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) puts the records straight for the interest of the general public and majority of staff of tertiary institutions that have displayed unparalleled understanding and cooperated with IPPIS till date. We hereby state as follows:

“The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax is a statutory tax deductions paid by all salary earners. IPPIS applied the correct rate in compliance with Section 34 of the 6th schedule on personal income tax (Amendment) Act of 2011. Prior to migration to IPPIS, the rate of tax being applied by tertiary institutions was not correct, leading to underpayment of PAYE Tax.

“It is important to note that all states governments of the federation made claims on the federal government to pay the differential arising from underpayment of tax by these institutions. The federal government has paid several billions on behalf of these institutions because of theirunderpayment of PAYE Tax. The request by the tertiary institution unions to formalize tax evasion through IPPIS is not only untenable, but unpatriotic request to violate extant laws on tax.

“NHF Deductions: The National Housing Fund (NHF) is 2.5% of basic salary. This is another statutory contribution backed by the Act of National Assembly. This is a savings contribution by all federal employees to enable them have access to short life loans to own their personal houses. These savings contribution are refundable with interest either at retirement or exit from being an employee of the federal government.
The ASUU is bringing claims that those laws should not be applicable to them and thereby should be exempted or be made optional for them. The request for breach of Act of Parliament is not within the ambit of the IPPIS or the (OAGF). They have been advised to approach the National Assembly for amendment of the Act.
Another issue raised by the unions is the Employees’ Pension Contribution deductions. Employees’ Pension Contribution 7.5%

“The ASUU claim that the Employee Contributory Pension should be based on basic salary and not on consolidated salary and it has increased their employee deductions thereby reducing their take home.

“This is a penny wise argument not expected from Ivory Tower. The Consolidated salary is what is applicable to determine employee’s contribution of all Federal employees’ as Salaries Income and Wages Commission (SIWC) have consolidated salary without the composition.

“The actual amount contributed by the employee determines what the Government contributes as well.

“Deduction is in line with the Pension Contributory Act. On payment of allowances, it should be stated that this is based on the salary structure as approved by Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (SIWC). However, the OAGF has advised the tertiary institutions academic unions to approach the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (SIWC) to formalize any agreement on salaries and allowances that they claim to have been approved for them. This is because the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (SIWC) is the only body authorized by law to prescribe salary structure and issue circulars for all federal government employees in Nigeria, while Revenue Mobilization, Allocation And Fiscal Commission is the sister body that is authorized by law to issue circular on payment of salary and allowances to political office holders.

“Any other salaries and allowances approved by any other agency in Nigeria which are not formalized by these two agencies will amount to illegal payment. Therefore, ASUU and other unions are expected to understand this. The fact that they arm-twisted their institutions to pay them these allowances does not translate to legality.
Sabbatical – visiting and adjoin lecturers: The payment of sabbatical aid visiting lecturers is duly recognized 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.

“Government recognizes the fact that all staff on sabbatical are entitled to 100% of their salaries as sabbatical allowances, while visiting and adjunct lecturers will enjoy 50% of their salaries as visiting allowance. The government will no longer incur unnecessary expenditure on pension, NHIS or such allowances that are not part of universities pensionable salaries.
On the issue of Union Dues, it should be stated that 2% of their consolidated salary was deducted as union dues. This was done so that the government would not be accused of denying them the dues, as they claim that the federal government is trying to use IPPIS to incapacitate them.

“It must be noted that the remittance of union deductions can only be legally made when the tertiary institutions and their union members forward the list of their members and their IPPIS numbers to enable IPPIS determine the actual amount to be remitted to each union. The list of members became imperative as some academics claim that they do not belong to any of the unions as some of the institutions are not universal. Among such institutions include Police Academy, Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna, Nigerian Army University, Biu Remittances from such institutions have to be returned to them.

“As soon as these are forwarded to IPPIS, any sharing ration amongst local chapters and headquarters, the monies will be remitted to them as we have a deduction schedule
Non-payment of promotion and consequential arrears. This accusation is very much unfair to IPPIS. The tertiary institutions were in charge of the payment of their salaries up to January 2020. Why did the tertiary institutions failed to pay their staff in line with the presidential directive that all consequential arrears due to federal employees must be paid on or before December 31, 2019? They owe their staff explanations why they refused to pay their staff up to January 2020. The IPPIS commenced the payment of salaries to tertiary institution in February 2020

“The IPPIS has made great effort to ensure that placement of tertiary institution staff on IPPIS is complete and correct in terms of their particulars and salary structure, grade levels and steps, indicating their IPPIS number as a unique identification for every staff on the platform.
This office is not unaware that there are bound to be teething challenges arising from migration of tertiary institutions onto IPPIS platform and this requires the cooperation and understanding of all the tertiary institutions to enable us effect the necessary corrections as quickly as possible.

“On the completion of this process, the issue of payment of consequential arrears can be meaningful and realistic to ensure that there is no overpayment or underpayment arising from payment consequential arrears.
On promotion placement, it should be noted that this can only be done based on submission of promotion lists by the tertiary institutions and their new grade levels and step to justify changes on the enrolled date

“On the issue of pay slips, the IPPIS had forwarded pay slips for February, March and April 2020 to the mail box of Bursars of the tertiary institutions to enable them generate such pay slips and distribute to their staff while the institutions have been advised to furnish IPPIS with active emails of their staff to enable IPPIS forward individual pay slips to their various emails in addition to bulk release of pay slips to the various institutions.

“As regards non receipt of salaries after payment; 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 efforts 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 does not recognize joint accounts operated by two or more persons. Every salary payment is personal.

“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. About 1,180 failed the BVN test and details have been forwarded to the universities for the necessary correction and update.

“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. 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 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. Mention must be made here that good spirited members of the union personally wrote to inform this office of their not being entitled to February salary payment and requested for account to refund the salary.

“The OAGF wishes to assure all the tertiary institution staff that we are always willing and ready to serve them as best as possible, but we plead for their understanding and cooperation.”

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