We’ll eradicate ghost names from payroll – Deputy Fin Minister-Designate

The Deputy Finance Minister-Designate, Abena Osei-Asare, has disclosed that the government has tightened its payment systems to deal with ghost names.

She told the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, June 3, that a Human Resource Management and Information System has been introduced to eliminate the presence of non-existing names on the government’s payroll.

The system is such that until the biometric data are captured and verified, one could not receive a salary from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CADG).

The system is to strengthen the government’s payment system and ensure that only genuine workers are paid.

Osei-Asare said that the Finance Ministry has also enhanced its supervisory role in the bid to deal with the menace of ghost names in the public sector and save the country money for development.

“There is a system where supervisors validate their employees at their various places of work every month before payment is made, and this has eliminated some ghost names in the system,” Ms Osei-Asare said. 

7,000 Ghost Names Removed From Gov’t Payroll

The Auditor-General unearthed 7,823 ‘ghost’ employees in 21 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which accounted for the loss of about GH¢564.2 million in early 2020.

In April 2017, about 27,000 ghost names were removed, according to the Finance Ministry. It was after the completion of a SSNIT biometric enrolment exercise.

A little over 23,000 names were also suspended from the payroll as the individuals could not be accounted for in a nationwide headcount conducted by the Finance Ministry in the same year.

Fiscal deficit

Osei-Asare, who served as the Deputy Minister in charge of budgets in the previous administration, clarified differences between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government’s report on fiscal deficit.

The IMF pegs the country’s fiscal deficit at 15.5%, but she said that is not accurate, noting that the country’s deficit as of December 2020 was 11.6%.

“The deficit does not include our energy sector and financial sector clean-up debts. These debts are treated separately from the country’s total debt stock since they are one-off debts that will be paid off at the appropriate time,” she explained.

She, however, mentioned that the energy sector and financial sector clean-up debts formed part of the country’s debt. 

Payment to road contractors

Osei-Asare said, consistently, the government has increased the budget allocation to the Ministry of Roads and made sure that what was in the budget was paid to the contractors.

“There are a number of activities competing for the revenue we earn. So, if we continue to increase our revenues, we will be in a better position to help our contractors,” she said.

“We need to start talking about innovative ways of funding these road contracts so that as much as possible, consistently, there will be monies in there to be paying when they submit their IPCs,” she added.

School feeding

Regarding the School Feeding Programme, she said the Gender Ministry had set up an inter-ministerial committee to look into the lack of finances.

She added that the committee would come up with recommendations that would help reduce the issues confronting the programme.

We will ensure that we give the right budgetary allocation to enable the school feeding secretariat to fulfil its mandate.

She assured that the government would do everything possible to ensure that the school feeding programme succeeds.

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