In a further effort to save Ghana’s pubic revenue, the names of 26,589 people suspected to be ghost names (non-existent or phantom workers) on the payroll and about 23,029 unidentified pensioners will be expunged this month, Ministry of Finance said here on Tuesday.

“The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has directed that names of 26,589 public sector workers be removed from the payroll commencing April 2017, since those affected have not been registered on the new SSNIT biometric system, despite several directives to do so,” a release from the ministry explained.

During the presentation of the 2017 budget, the first by the current government in parliament, Ofori-Atta announced government’s commitment to clean the payroll.

He therefore requested that the Controller and Accountant General inform all public servants on the Government of Ghana mechanized payroll system who had not registered on the new Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) biometric system to do so by the end of February 2017.

In addition, the notice announced that salaries for un-enrolled workers would be suspended indefinitely or until the SSNIT re-enrollment was completed by the said workers by the end of March 2017, while the February 28, 2017 deadline was further extended to March 31, 2017.

“This directive will as such now come into effect commencing with the end of April 2017 payroll. Consequently, those not registered with SSNIT, as directed shall be treated as “Ghost” going forward and shall as such be removed from the payroll for April 2017,” the statement emphasized.

In line with that, the finance minister has also directed the Controller and Accountant General to suspend the payment of pensions to some 23,029 people because they could not be accounted for in a nationwide head count which ended on the 22nd of October 2016.

SSNIT is adequately prepared to validate any affected pensioner across the country who make themselves available to be counted and validated going forward. Several mobile enrollment kits are on standby to cater for affected pensioners who may not be able to travel to their nearest SSNIT district offices to complete the validation process.

“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 35 million Ghana cedis or 8.4 million U.S Dollars in payroll cost on a monthly basis or a total of over 250 million cedis or 60.02 million Dollars in 2017 alone,” the statement explained.

The government of Ghana has embarked on a program since 2012 to use biometric pay-roll system to expunge ghost names from its public sector system, in order to save the country monies that are usually siphoned by unscrupulous individuals through the use of names of non-existent workers.

The government decided in 2010 to obtain, through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), the biometric information of all public servants as part of efforts to improve payroll management in Ghana, with the gathering of data commencing in April 2012.

The public sector payroll has been one major drain on public finance in Ghana with stakeholders urging a down-sizing or more efficiency from public servants. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/