General News Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Pensions Department has only one camera

Accra, June 30, GNA - There is only one camera at the Pension Computation Unit of the Accountant General's Department, necessitating pensioners from across the country to converge in Accra to take pictures for their identity cards.

Officials said the cameras serving the other regions had broken down several years ago and efforts to replace them had so far proven futile because of inadequate budgetary allocation.

"There is no other alternative now except for the pensioners to travel from various parts of the country to Accra for their pictures," said Mr Kwaku Nkrumah, Chief Treasurer Officer.

He was enumerating the difficulties the Department was facing, when Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Public Sector Reform, visited the Department on a familiarisation tour.

Mr Nkrumah said having people to move to Accra had created a lot of inconveniences for Pensioners, especially those who had to travel from the northern part of the country to Accra for the pictures. Asked about the delays in pension payments, Mr Nkrumah explained that the problems were sometimes due to the issue of clearance certificates from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust and the Audit Service.

At the Integrated Personnel Payroll Database Section, Mr Jacob Atongo, Head of Computer Section, complained about frequent breakdown of the systems, saying the hardware and software were both old and broke down often.


He said there was the urgent need to buy a new server and printers to cope with the volume of work.

Mr Christian Sottie, Controller and Accountant General, said lack of equipment was the biggest affront to enhanced service delivery, saying that all machines in the Department were at least five years old. He said because there were not enough computers some of the staff had to close from the office at 2200 hours to ensure that inputs were made for payment of salaries and pensions.

On the camera situation in the Pension Unit, Mr Sottie said the Department had appealed to the Electoral Commission to help it with 30 cameras to facilitate the taking of pictures in the regions. He appealed to the Government to look at the Department as a project and make enough budgetary allocation to it to enable it to improve upon its service delivery.

Dr Nduom described the situation at the Pension Unit as bad, saying it was sad that dedicated public officers, who served their country diligently had to go through such hustle on their retirement. He said efforts must be made to break the barrier of centralization of photo taking by getting cameras for all the regions as a first step to easing the problems of Pensioners.

Dr Nduom promised that he would liaise with the Ministry of Finance to see how best the problem could be resolved to speed up the process of pension payment as well as meet the equipment needs of the Department to enable them to deliver quality service to the workers and Pensioners.

Source: GNA