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Strike: ASUU yet to meet govt’s demand –FG

The Federal Government has said it’s still waiting for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to upgrade and return the Universities Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), which failed the integrity test.

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, spoke to State House Correspondents at the end of Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over a face-off with the Federal Government which included the non-acceptance of UTAS as the payment platform to replace the Integrated Personnel and Payment Information System (IPPIS).

While government insisted that UTAS has failed the necessary tests that should qualify it to be used as a payment platform, ASUU accused the government of not being ready to accept its alternative platform to the IPPIS. 

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Asked to give update on UTAS being one of contentious issues that led to the ongoing ASUU strike, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said he acted on the letter from the Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, requesting a review of the submission and the technical ability of the software of the system, by forwarding it to NITDA for action.

“They (NITDA) conducted their  analysis, their testing and sent same back to me, and I drafted a cover letter which I forwarded to the Minister of Labor and Employment and copied the minister of education, minister of finance, budget and national planning, and also office of the accountant general of the federation and even National University Commission.”

Giving clarification on the position of UTAS, Inuwa said: “When we received the request to review, UTAS, you know, building complex system like UTAS that involves employees’ personal data, and also payment system, we have to subject it to do best practice tests before approving. Normally, when we are reviewing that kind of system, we perform three tests.”

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“Firstly, because when you’re building system, it’s not just about the technology, you need to consider the people that will use this system and the process. If you don’t align people, process and technology, you will never get result. No matter how good the technology is, if the people don’t understand how to use it, they won’t use it. And if the process is different from the way the people work, also, they won’t use it. So, that is a process of building technology.

“Again, you need to get the business requirement. What do you want to achieve? So, it’s not the technology that will come first, it is the business requirement, what do you want to achieve, then you need to identify the capabilities you need to achieve, that is your business objective.

“Part of the capability is the technology you need to bring in and the people that will operate the technology before you start thinking of the technology, because technology is always a tool that will help you to achieve an objective or to do your work. If you bring the tool before knowing what to do with it, it will be useless.

“So, when they came, we said okay, fine, we will do user acceptance test, ASUU you’ve built this system, but you are not the one that will use the system. There are people in bursary, and all those in finance that will use this system. So, we need to do user acceptance test with them, let them come and show the system, let them see if it can help them to do the work there.”