Best solution to ghost names is to decentralize payroll – Domelevo

Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA

Takoradi, Aug. 14, GNA – The Auditor-General,
Mr Daniel Domelevo has said decentralising Ghana’s payroll system was key in
ensuring total eradication of ghost names on government payroll in Ghana and
Africa as a whole.

He pointed out that the closer the payroll
system was to the people, the easier it was to detect and eliminate ghost
names, “we will soon make a recommendation to the government to move the
payroll system closer to the people”

He said though government employed about
600,000 people out of the about 29 million Ghanaians, 45 percent of government
revenue was used to pay salaries of workers thereby placing a huge deficit on
infrastructure and other developmental goals.

Mr Domelevo, who said this during the briefing
of heads of institutions and the media in Takoradi on the exercise to verify
details of government employees noted that, seeing Ghana beyond aid and
ensuring massive development required that those in the helm of affairs did the
right thing.

He regretted that young graduates who were
ready to work remained unemployed while the old who were on government payroll
were not working, adding “we can’t sit aloof and allow wastage in
government payroll”.

The Auditor General pointed out that the
exercise was not to witch-hunt anyone or unnecessarily remove names of workers
from the government payroll, but to clean the names of those who were not
supposed to be on the government payroll.

He said winning the fight against ghost names,
would therefore require that heads of management units at the regional and
district levels were empowered by central administration to quickly eliminate
names of those on separation or those who had died which continued to eat a
chunk of the government’s cake.

The two-week exercise in the Region, would run
simultaneously in all the selected centers in the 23 districts with more than
41,000 government staff expected to undergo the exercise.

In the Sekondi /Takoradi Metropolitan
Assembly, 11, 000 workers are expected to verify their status at the Regional
Coordinating Council, the Teachers Resource centre, Effia-Nkwanta and Takoradi
Hospitals, Prisons and the Sekondi school for the Deaf (SEKDEAF).

“We need to change, we cannot afford the
wastage of state funds which could be channelled into development as well as
employing new staff to control unemployment.” 

He wondered why people faked certificates and
other documents to stay on the pay roll and said the law would not take it
lightly on those found culpable, “We need information on impersonation as we
clear the payroll of ghost names”.

Mr Domelevo explained that when someone dies,
separated or has resigned his or job the head of institution was to write
immediately to the bank for the person’s salary to be  transferred into the “Salary Suspense
Account” to go back to the state…”we are counting on you heads of institutions
and any failure to act in accordance with the law will mean that we surcharge
you with every cost”.

Meanwhile, Act 187, clause 7 also empowers the
Auditor-General to disallow the existence of people whose documents did not
conform to their requirement and that would only take the law court for such an
individual to be re- instated.

Mr George Winful, Deputy Director, Central
Government Audit Department said getting a credible payroll system was a
collective responsibility and stressed the need to end the menace to save the
country’s purse.

He said the problem of ghost names had been
around for rather too long and there was the need to get it right to enhance
the credibility of the system.

The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mrs
Gifty Eugenia Kusi lauded the move by the Auditor-General to ensure that all
irregularities were erased from the Government payroll to help secure a
credible and manageable payroll.

She therefore called on heads of institutions
to educate their staff on the need to avail themselves for the exercise.

Deputy Minister who went through the verification exercise at the programme,
called for coordinated efforts of all actors to ensure that by the end of the
exercise the pay roll would be cleaned.


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