From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) has picked holes in the operationalisation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) as their ineffectiveness was robbing the federal government billions of naira annually.
The report showed that as at November 2020, more than 14 years after the roll out of IPPIS, over N3.96 billion was paid to the two vendors between 2012 and 2018, without the system fully operational as designed in all the Federal MDAs nationwide.
The payment, the report noted, excluded additional payouts to the Project Management Consultants, Customer Relationship Managers and other experts hired to man the system.
On GIFMIS, the report said the flawed contract management between the OAGF and the consulting vendor has so far cost the Federal Government over $27.4 million; over €8.490,961.59, and over N6.52 billion between 2011 and December 31, 2020.
Details of the audit findings contained in the final report submitted in September 2021 to the National Assembly by the Auditor General of the Federation, Aghughu Adolphus, indicates that despite the high payout, the IPPIS system is yet to be successfully completed, as one of its key components, the Human Resource (HR) Module, is still “work-in-progress”.
“There was over-reliance on the two vendors (Messrs Soft Alliance and Resources Ltd) contracted to manage key aspects of the Systems, like enrollment and making changes to employee critical data, monthly payrolling and managing/maintaining the database of employees, in spite of the significant funds committed to the project already,” the report noted.
“The HR component is not fully implemented, because it is still experiencing challenges with the solution provider, in terms of getting analytics, as the software is not fully developed and tested, and the cleared data of core MDAs yet to be migrated to the oracle EBS,” the report explained.
Although the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation said significant progress has been made in the implementation of the HR module since its introduction in 2013, the delay has been as a result of the initial difficulty to log-on the IPPIS portal due to problems associated with the solution provider.
On GIFMIS, the audit found that the “application is not completely owned and managed by the Federal Government”, and “there was no clause in the contract agreement stating where source codes could be kept secured with a third party to ensure access, continued operation and maintenance of the software when the vendor is unable to do so.”
Besides, the audit found that the GIFMIS project did not have defined start and end dates, thereby making it a continuous project, and that there was no adequate capacity building to manage the system independent of the solution provider.
The audit noted that after over 108 months of the deployment of GIFMIS in over 700 MDAs, there has not been adequate training to equip the OAGF staff to independently maintain and manage the application.
“Since the GIFMIS Application Contract provides for customization of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) application to suit Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Public Financial Management (PFM) requirements, the application is not custom made. Hence, the intellectual property as per the contract, belongs to the vendor,” the audit noted.
As a result of the flaws in the IPPIS system, the audit found that in October 2020, about N296.98 million deducted from the employees of some MDAs for October 2020 was not remitted to their PFAs for their benefit.
For instance, the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), 110014000000 and 110015000000, in the payroll of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State were replicated with different PFAs 69 and 67 times respectively, while 165 staff had no PFAs and/or PINs.
In the same month, the audit found that out of a total number of 9,664 staff of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 5,388 had issues with their PFAs and/or PFA PINs.
Also, in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), over 139,000 officers had similar issues, with over 85,000 of them having 100000000000 as their PINs; over 19,000 Officers with 101000000000 as their PINs, and over 17,000 with 200000000000 as their PINs.
Most of the officers who had incomplete, and/or inaccurate data with respect to their Pension Deductions, had entries like “null”, “unspecified”, “not available” “-”, “00000000”, “0”, etc. against either their PFA names or PINs.
The IPPIS project was conceived and rolled out in 2007 as an ICT solution to centralize the payment processes to store and maintain the personal information of all Federal Government employees.
Similarly, GIFMIS was conceived in 2004 and rolled out in 2019 as an Accounting Transaction Recording and Reporting Systems (ATRRS) in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
An Information Technology (IT) audit of IPPIS and GIFMIS systems published late last year by the OAuGF, revealed how operators of the two systems connived with the consulting vendors and operators to defraud the government.