Monday, 9 November 2015

Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) - Public Service Reforms in Nigeria (1999-2014)

The Problem
The manual, file-based personnel system operated by the federal public service meant that government did not have accurate and reliable information about the size and nature of its workforce. The incidence of ‘ghost workers’ was prevalent, with fraudulent public servants claiming and collecting the salaries of non-existent workers. Other fraudulent activities included some public servants collecting salaries from multiple establishments, some officers conniving with others to get paid higher salaries than were due to them, and records of loans obtained from government routinely disappearing from files. Personnel records contained in files, such as birth certificates, declarations of age and even certificates of indigene-ship, were often substituted to obtain undue advantage. The federal government and the World Bank estimated that the government was losing about ₦1 billion to ghost workers alone annually.

Reform Actions
In October 2006, the federal government conceived the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to provide a reliable and comprehensive database for the public service to facilitate manpower planning, eliminate record and payroll fraud, facilitate easy storage, update and retrieve personnel records for administrative and pension processes, and facilitate convenient staff remuneration payment with minimal waste and leakage.

The IPPIS project went live in April 2007 and was first piloted in six ministries: Education, Foreign Affairs, Finance (including the Budget Office of the Federation), Works, Information and Communications (as it was then known), and the National Planning Commission. In 2009, it was expanded to cover another 11 ministries, departments and agencies, including Aviation, Health, Agriculture, Petroleum Resources, Transport, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission. In the first month of implementation, IPPIS saved the government ₦416 million. At the end of its first phase in 2010, the savings had risen to ₦12 billion.

Building on the success of the pilot phase, the government embarked on a service-wide deployment of IPPIS in 2011. The government’s intention is that, by the end of 2014, all 585 government MDAs, made up of the mainstream Civil Service and other Agencies in the Public Service drawing personnel cost from the national budget would have been enrolled onto the IPPIS platform. Government is also pursuing the full implementation of the human resource management component of IPPIS and the full connectivity of all human resource and finance offices to the system.

Main Achievements
The quality of government payroll administration has vastly improved and an increasing number of MDAs are moving away from manual payroll administration. The MDAs have the necessary information for planning their personnel costs. IPPIS has actually reduced corruption by virtually eliminating ghost-worker syndrome where applied, thereby reducing the cost of governance. The Scheme has, from its launch in 2007 to December 2014, saved the government ₦185 billion (about US$1 billion), representing the difference between the money that government would have released to MDAs based on their estimated nominal roll submissions and the amount actually paid through the IPPIS platform. A breakdown of this shows that ₦416 million was saved in its first month of operation and ₦12 billion at the end of its three-year pilot phase. The scheme now covers 359 MDAs and has successfully enrolled 237,917 members of staff and weeded out 60,450 ‘ghost workers’. Furthermore, it reduced the red tape involved in manual payroll administration.

Other key achievements of IPPIS include:
  1. Automated payroll system driven completely from a human resource information system;
  2. Clean payroll data devoid of ghost workers, based on biometric capture of personnel;
  3. Secure database for manpower planning and analysis;
  4. Prompt payment of salaries to public servants;
  5. Harmonisation of nominal roles with payroll;
  6. Establishment of the IPPIS Service-Wide Department in OHCSF to coordinate the implementation of the HR component of IPPIS and attend to various HR issues being forwarded by MDAs;
  7. Review of the “AS IS” HR Business Processes
  8. Complete HR module has been finalised and implementation will be staggered by the MDAs

    Proposed Next Steps
    1. The Steering Committee on IPPIS should urgently deal with the supplier performance and project management issues that have constrained the full realisation of the benefits of IPPIS.
    2. The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and other stakeholders should intensify efforts to facilitate the full deployment of HR Business Modules.
    3. The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology should develop a robust plan for addressing the connectivity issues, working with Galaxy Backbone.
    4. The OHCSF in conjunction with other Control Agencies should embark on change management, aimed at creating more awareness of the IPPIS Scheme to tackle resistance by some institutions. 
    1. The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is the Chairman of the IPPIS Steering Committee. It should be made clear to all that he remains the final authorising officer at the end of IPPIS processes.
    2. There is a need to focus on the training and retraining of IPPIS Personnel. A single one-off training effort is insufficient
    3. The existing policy which stipulates that trained IPPIS Role Players can only be posted after spending three years on the desks and should only be moved to similar desks in other MDAs must be strictly adhered to in order to address the problem of too-frequent movement of such officers
    4. Incentives should be provided for all IPPIS Personnel Service-Wide to match the demanding nature of their job and guarantee full commitment to duty without compromise.
    5. The secondary Data Replication Centre in Gombe should be relocated to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation or the premises of Galaxy Backbone for data safety and security. It should also be possible to explore virtual data replication using ‘Cloud Computing.’ 

Reference:  Public Service Reforms in Nigeria (1999-2014) - A Comprehensive Review

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