By Jerry Daks
The Director in Charge of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) Emma James Deko said on Tuesday that they were not responsible for the payment of salaries of workers, but only process the payment.
Deko who spoke at the resume hearing of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating non remittance of deduction from workers salaries for the National House Fund also said that in most cases, deductions from workers are not remitted because of shortage of cash backing for approvals for wages.
He also said that sometimes, they get directices to oniy the net of the workers salaries, while the gross is kept in view because of shortage of funds.
According to him, while IPPIS prepare the salaries for only federal workers, the government appointed four gateways that are responsible for the payment of the salaries to workers.
He gave the names of the gateways which he said are not situated within the IPPIS as Nigeria Interbank Payment System (NIPS), E-Transact, Remita and GIFMIS.
He said “So, like I said, IPPIS is not in charge of every employee of the federal government. IPPIS is only covering the executive arm. So, what I am trying to say is that, IPPIS is not in charge of every employee of government.
“Having said that, let me go back to the requirements from IPPIS. The first one is evidence of remittance by all stakeholders and unremitted so far by the MDAs. The last part of it, the names of beneficiaries, I don’t think IPPIS can provide that because we don’t give to beneficiaries.
“We cannot talk about evidence of remittance without deductions, because it is only when you deduct that you can remit. I must be sincere that, we have been trying to collate this information because it relates as far back as 2011 to date, based on the request of this Honourable committee.
“We have been on it, but we have one constraint and that constraint is the fact that after deductions, we remit and the we are to pay salaries.
“There are instances where the cash backing may not cover the entire salary wage bill for a particular month., and in that instance, we are advised, we are directed to pay only the net, which means that, all deductions will be stepped down.
“I want to put it on record that I became the director IPPIS in February 2023, and when I came in, I was told and I also observed from records that, from December 2022 to the point I was joining, they’ve already been paying net. And I also went through the records and discovered that, there were instances like that in the past.
“It made us to understand that, it is not all deductions that were remitted and it is not the fault of IPPIS. IPPIS is meant to deduct and remit. And that bring me to the point that, remittance, payment of salaries is not done in IPPIS, we only process.
“There are four payment gateways engaged by government to do the payment. Nigeria Interbank Payment System (NIPS), E-Transact, Remita and GIFMIS. These are not situated within IPPIS. We only process and they have the gateway to remit these monies.
“Why I am saying this is because the records of remittance is not with us. Since this instruction was sent to me by my boss, we have been trying to reach these people, and till this morning, we are , even our staff were online till 2am, 3am to get these records so that we can answer this Honourable committee. We have been getting them in piecemeal.
“So, as I speak, we were not able to get everything coherently and, totally based on what this honourable committee wants, but we are on it. We are bound to respond to this Committee totally.
“We are committed to that totally. We are assuring you that, we will do everything within our power to respond to the request of this Committee. We’ll not hinder this committee’s work. No. We are accountants and accountants keep records.
“But, in this instance, we are not able to do certain things because we are constrained. Let me give you an instance, I am sure all of us are aware, the money is in CBN.
“When these remittances are done, the CBN is supposed to get us statements. Sometimes when they give you statements , may be payment was made to hundred people , they will give you a figure of let’s say N10 billion and you ask for the breakdown to do reconciliation as an accountant, but as we speak, it is difficult , it is not only in IPPIS, it is in all the accounting cadre.
“We have been facing this problem, we cannot reconcile our accounts because they give you bulk figure, and with those figures you cannot reconcile. I am sure my colleagues from the Auditor General are aware of this. So, this is our constrain. But, we were able to put down something for now, just to respond to you. We are on it, we will respond fully as the information trickle in”.
However, the committee summoned the Accountant General of the Federation to appear before the committee on Thursday to explain the delays in remitting deductions from workers salaries to the Federal Mortgage Bank.
The Central Bank of Nigeria is also to appear on Thursday before the committee.