Mgt, Union EXCOS Parley On IPPIS, Housing Scheme, Coop Loan Scheme

Management of the University met again with the Executives of the four Unions on Thursday, June 20, 2019, to iron out issues related to the impending deduction of dues from staff salaries in favour of the Federal Mortgage Bank. They also ventilated the issues of impending deductions for the National Housing Scheme and servicing of the contentious loan facility disbursed by the Cooperative Society.

Management had previously held exploratory meetings with the Unions on the knotty issues surrounding the deductions which are backed by an enabling legislation.

The latest meeting which held at the NIM Lounge, Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium afforded the Vice Chancellor yet another opportunity to fine-tune the final details of the transaction with the Union Executives. “What is at stake here is not whether we would pay the approved percentage to the FMBN or not; this meeting is convened to work out final details before deductions can commence in line with extant legislation. There are severe legal implications for agencies and institutions that may infringe on the payment schedule,” Professor Lale told the Unions, some of which had expressed reluctance to tag along with the contributory housing scheme.

Announcing that the National Housing Fund Scheme was mandatory for all staff of the University, Professor Lale informed the Union Executives, comprising the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU), to direct their members to comply with the directive by filling out the necessary forms that would enable them to participate in the housing scheme.

On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Vice Chancellor informed the Union Executives that the Federal Government was working out modalities for a uniformed IPPIS that would ensure that academic staff who participate in extra teaching engagements in universities other than their original places of employment are closely monitored and checkmated to halt the academic 'moonlighting' practice.

The Vice Chancellor also notified the Unions of Management's proposal to broaden the Internet bandwidth connectivity for the benefit of staff and students of the University. “I want to emphasise that the proposal to broaden the Internet bandwidth connectivity has been activated and final modalities are being worked out to ascertain the total number of staff and students that would benefit from the project. We are also working out the token subscription fee to be paid by users when the system is fully operational,” Professor Lale said.

Corroborating the Vice Chancellor's brief on the proposal, Chairman of the Governing Council Committee on the Internet project and Director of the University of Port Harcourt Business School, Professor Okey Onuchuku, read out a breakdown of the cost implication of installing and maintaining the facility in the University, including the end benefits to users.

The Vice Chancellor subsequently advised that the repayment schedule for the loan disbursed by the Cooperative Society would continue to be serviced with monthly deductions from beneficiaries of the loan facility. “I wish to state that it is wrong for staff affected by the deductions to pressure their Unions to confront Management on the matter, because the loan was obtained by individuals, not the Unions. A new harmonisation schedule is being considered by Management with a view to bringing all those who are found culpable in the loan scam to book,” the Vice Chancellor told the gathering.

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