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GOV’T SAVES GH¢433M From Tackling ‘Ghost Workers’ Fraud

General News

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday revealed that through a payroll audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance, under the impressive leadership of Ken Ofori-Atta, in the last two months, the salaries of some 26,589 ‘workers’ have been suspended from the April 2017 payroll. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday revealed that through a payroll audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance, under the impressive leadership of Ken Ofori-Atta, in the last two months, the salaries of some 26,589 ‘workers’ have been suspended from the April 2017 payroll. 

 

According to the President, “These ‘workers’ have not come forward to be biometrically verified by SSNIT, despite numerous calls by the Controller and Accountant General to do so.”

He stressed: “The idea of biometric verification is essentially to isolate ghost names from the payroll.”

The cost of maintaining these 26,589 names on government payroll, the President stated, is GH¢36,166,203 per month, implying that “government stands to save the country over GH¢433 million on this year’s budget alone by this exercise.”

He disclosed this yesterday when he delivered his maiden May Day address to workers, at the Independence Square, in Accra.

In addition to the biometric verification of workers, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that other efforts aimed at cleaning the payroll were being undertaken by government.

These include a new payment system that will integrate the GHIPSS payment platform for salaries to be paid directly to workers without any manual intervention, as has always been the case.  This, he added, will be implemented on a test basis this month and envisaged to cover finally all workers in June 2017.

“SSNIT has also been asked to create a separate database for the Controller, by biometrically registering close to two hundred thousand CAP30 workers. Government payroll will now have a direct interface with this and the existing database, thus reducing payroll fraud to the barest minimum. This will provide a complete end-to-end visibility of the entire payroll system, while

having a seamless integration between payroll cost and the government’s general ledger,” the President said.

He stressed: “if we are to pay workers well, we must do at least two things: get rid of ghost ones and enhance the efficiency of genuine ones.”

The president charged the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Yaw Baah, to lead a campaign for change in attitude towards work, to help enhance the economic growth of the country.

“If we are going to make the changes we all want, then we have to start with a change in attitude to work. Government is ready to do its part and I am counting on you Secretary General to lead the campaign for a change in attitude to work and increase in productivity,” he stated.

Reacting to the concerns from Dr Baah about the bad economic circumstances of present day workers, President Akufo-Addo noted that the attitudes of workers must change if the nation was to progress.

“I have said it at another forum, but I think it bears repeating: we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work, because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop,” the President said.

He continued, “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work… we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”

President Akufo-Addo was particularly worried about the pernicious attitude to property found at work.

“There is the petty stealing of paper, envelopes, tea, milk and other equipment. There is the reckless use of office vehicles. Employees show no inclination to protecting the things that are in the offices and factories and extreme reluctance to stand up for what we know to be right in our workplaces in general,” he lamented.

Touching on the service provided in the country’s hospitality industry, the President indicated that the service “does not match that of our competitors and many of us have sadly come around to accept poor service as the norm.”

He advocated a return to the days of old where, “Ghanaian artisans, for example, used to have an enviable reputation around the region. Our carpenters, masons, mechanics, plumbers, tailors were much sought after. They took pride in their work and improved upon their own set standards every time they took on a new job.”

President Akufo-Addo wondered how very old classroom blocks could withstand storms and heavy rainfall, whilst the roofs of nearby, newly built ones are ripped off regularly.

“How come that we build roads that are expected to last for at least five years and they do not make it through one rainy season before they fail and pot holes appear? The workers on the roads, the contractors and the consultants all conspire to deliver the shoddy work that prevents us from getting to where we ought to be,” he lamented.