BY Vivian Chime
Kashifu Inuwa, director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), says the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) failed three integrity tests.
Inuwa spoke to journalists on Wednesday after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
According to him, the tests were meant to qualify UTAS — which was brought forward by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) — as an alternative payment platform to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, and part of the reasons for the industrial action is that the federal government has refused to accept UTAS as a payment platform to replace the IPPIS.
Speaking on the matter, Inuwa said ASUU is currently reviewing the system.
“When we received the request to review UTAS, you know, building a complex system like UTAS that involves employees’ personal data, and also payment system, we have to subject it to best practice tests before approving,” he said.
“Normally, when we are reviewing that kind of system, we perform three tests. 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. 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. Then, you need to identify the capabilities you need to achieve that your business objective.
“Part of the capability is the technology you need to bring in and the people that will operate 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.”
He said NITDA conducted a user acceptance test, a vulnerability test to check for possibility of hacking, and a stress test to prevent the system from crashing.
“We did all these three tests with them and the system couldn’t pass. We wrote the reports and submitted it back to the honourable minister, which he forwarded to all relevant institutions, including ASUU. As we speak now, ASUU is working, trying to fix all the issues we highlighted with the system and we will review it again. But that is just one half of the story,” he said.
“The second half of the story is that we need to find where to put that system like IPPIS. We have a data centre built for it. That means we need to have the data centre, and we need to check to make sure it meets minimum requirement, because if you put people’s information and the system crashes, how can you pay them salary?
“There are a lot of things to do. As we speak, they’re trying to fix all the issues we highlighted with the system.”