By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The Federal Government, Thursday slammed the Military, Police , Universities Teachers and other government agencies resisting the capturing of their workforce under the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) .
It described the resistance being mounted against implementation of the policy on monthly salary payments of their personnel as misplaced , vowing to get all of them on the integrated pay system in line with transparency and anti – corruption policy of the government .
Speaking on the vested issue during budget defence session of her Ministry before the Senate Committee on Finance, the Minister of Finance , Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said there is no agency of government that must resist it and it must be treated with utmost importance.
She said :” As far as I am concerned , the resistance to the IPPIS is misplaced and everything possible would be done in ensuring compliance by all agencies .
“The military, the police and most agencies of government except for a few tertiary institutions are still resisting but we have been engaging them and we are in the process of uploading them into the system.
“The IPPIS is the Integrated payroll system of the government. So far, we have been able to put most federal government agencies on the platform. It helps us to control practices in the past because we used to have those that were not supposed to be on the payroll”.
The Minister, however, alluded to the fact that some universities and medical institutions have some peculiarities.
“For instance, a consultant can consult in different hospitals but he should still have one primary point of employment. A lecturer, based on the approval given by the Minister is also allowed to lecture in more than one university.
“That however does not mean that he should feature in all the instructions as a staff member. At best, there would be Special allowances that would be due to them for those extra work. The allowances should, however, not be included in the payroll.
“We have been discussing with them and we are arranging peculiar allowances for them too. This is to make sure that the extra work they do, according to the limits that is allowed, is provided for in the payroll. They have understood now that their concerns would be addressed and they have started working with us” , she explained .
She further stated that government has been able to save N250 billion through the paying system “while the Accountant General staff are on the field trying to capture the last batch of the staff into the IPPIS which is controlled by the Head of Service.
It is a record of staff and when a staff retired from the service, the system will automatically log him out. At the moment we await instructions before we log out retired staff. Some people have retired but they are still on the payroll, so there are lots of cleaning up that we have to do. We have been working with the Head of Service to fastrack that integration”.
Commenting on the high personnel cost in the 2020 budget estimate, Ahmed stressed that the personnel cost represents 30 percent of the entire budget.
She submitted that “we have a national problem of low productivity especially within government with our personnel cost in the 2020 budget proposal being N3.3 trillion from a budget size of N10.3trillion.
“We should collectively work together to see how we can reduce the cost. If we cannot reduce the cost, we should be able to maximize the staff that we have and how we can increase their productivity. When we compare a staff cost of N3.3tn and a capital of N2.1tn, it is a mismatch.
“We are definitely portraying ourselves as a nation whose concentration is not on developmental projects but on consumption.
“It is something that had build up over time. We have to do something that are unpopular, bold and radical step to make a difference. It is not what the executive alone can do, we will be urging the National support us when we want to take some radical actions in order to increase productivity not just in the public service but also nationally”.