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Salaries of 7,000 civil servants for August this year have been suspended because they failed to comply with directives from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to validate their salaries every month before they are paid.
The Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) of the MoF gave heads of departments of the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) an 11-day window to update their payroll platforms with names of new entrants and deletion of deceased and dismissed staff.
It also gave the heads of MDAs 48 hours to update the Electronic Salary Payment Voucher (ESPV), but the heads failed to endorse the data on the 7,000 government workers, the Director in charge of Payroll at the CAGD, Mrs Elizabeth Osei, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
She said the affected workers were mainly those who failed to validate their payroll through the system and for that reason their heads of departments could not endorse their salaries.
Mrs Osei explained that the affected workers were those with irregular or no bank account details, wrong Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) numbers and employees not captured on the biometric registration system at the MoF.
According to Mrs Osei, the decision of the CAGD was hinged on Regulations 297 of the Financial Administration Regulation, 2004 (LI 1802), with an objective of cleaning the payroll system and improving the efficiency of the government of Ghana’s payroll management.
Mrs Osei stated that 13 days were given to the various MDAs to validate their payrolls but the 7,000 workers did not co-operate.
“We are poised to clean the government payroll and for that reason, we’ll follow laid down rules to the letter,” Mrs Osei said.
“We served notice on the new directives in February 2017. We have communicated with unions, chief directors, heads of departments and human resource departments of the various MDAs on the need for regular updates but not all complied, thereby causing the non-payment of salaries of the 7,000 government workers,” Mrs Osei explained.
She further noted that the CAGD even caused publications on the issue in the media, as well as sent reminders but all to no avail.
Following from that, she said, the CAGD took the decision to protect the public purse by paying only workers whose salaries had been validated.
Mrs Osei, however, gave an assurance that the salaries of the affected workers would be paid in September 2017 so long as they complied with the existing directives.
“The salaries of the affected workers would be paid at the end of September 2017 on the condition that their heads of department validate them on the ESPV platform for September 2017,” Mrs Osei added.
A notice issued by the CAGD stated that employees declared unknown but not missing at their various places of work, were required to submit reactivation letters signed by their heads of departments to the CAGD Payroll Processing Division.
“Employees with zero or irregular bank account details and others with wrong or without SSNIT numbers and employees sharing the same account numbers should submit the required information to the Payroll Processing Directorate of the CAGD for processing.
“Employees yet to go through the biometric registration exercise should contact the biometric registration centre at the MoF with the necessary documents for registration,” the notice signed by the Controller and Accountant General, Mr Eugene Ofosuhene, added.
Biometric registration of public sector workers began in 2015.A total of 457,595 public sector workers have so far complied with the directive from the government to biometrically register their personal data with the SSNIT.
The CAGD, in April 2017, refused to pay the salaries of 26,589 public sector workers who failed to undergo biometric registration in compliance with the directives of the MoF.
Majority of the affected persons were trained teachers who expressed reservations about the new directive, but CAGD indicated the issues being raised by affected public servants were not valid because they had failed to comply with directives from the MoF.
Several directives spanning a period of more than a year have been issued to public servants instructing them to biometrically upgrade their records with the SSNIT.
However, the 26,589 affected public sector workers have still not complied despite the many reminders.
Subsequently, the MoF sent a directive to the Controller and Accountant General to withhold the salaries of the affected public servants until they comply with the directive.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, had on February 10, 2017, asked the Controller and Accountant General to inform all public servants on the government’s mechanised payroll system, who had not registered on the new SSNIT biometric system to do so by the end of February 2017.
“This directive will come into effect on the April 2017 payroll. Consequently, those not registered with SSNIT, as directed shall be treated as “Ghosts” going forward and shall as such be removed from the payroll for April 2017.”
“These two directives, resulting in the identification of close to 50,000 “Ghost” names on the payroll and Pensions Registry, are expected to save the country some GH¢35 million in payroll cost on a monthly basis or a total of over GH¢250 million in 2017 alone,” the statement said.
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