Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, has stated that the integrity test being conducted on the software of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), proposed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would take between six and eight months to be completed.
Ngige, who spoke after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was conducting the integrity test on the software but while the software was available, there was no hardware to back it up.
“The UTAS, that is the University Transparent System which they brought, is not yet ready.
“It is not fully ready, it is undergoing an integrity test for the software. I am not a computer scientist, but you must also know that you must test the hardware and the integrity test for the software.
“As we speak, ASUU has no hardware and UTAS does not have hardware backing.
“I am waiting for the NITDA’s full report but the preliminary report they gave me, the software integrity test will take them about six to eight weeks and thereafter, we go to the hardware.
“But the big issue is, who will provide the hardware?” he said
ASUU is currently on strike in protest against the Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) while proposing UTAS as an alternative.
Ngige stated that if the software passed the integrity test being conducted by NITDA, the university teachers do not have the needed fund to procure the necessary hardware for its implementation.
He explained that the Federal Government did not make provision for the procurement of the UTAS hardware in the budget.
He said the decision to send the UTAS software to NITDA for integrity test was based on the fact that the Federal Government will not want to discourage anybody or group from providing homegrown solutions to issues.
“ASUU does not have the finances to do so. Has the government budgeted for it now as we speak? So, that one is a major problem. But we don’t have to dissuade anybody, we don’t have to tell anybody not to carry on, we like local content development, we need our things to be home grown. So, we are really encouraging them.”