The Ministry of Finance has apologized to public sector workers whose names were deleted during the comprehensive payroll audit conducted by the Ministry recently, which has purged the system of ghost names and saved the nation some money.
The Minister Hon. Ken Ofori Atta is urging labor groups to exercise restraint as the ministry works expeditiously to fix the error.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Workers Day, May 1, revealed that the ountry had saved an amount of GHC443 million following Finance Ministry’s suspension of salary payment to some 26,589 workers in April, 2017.
He said the country spent GH¢36,166,203 per month to maintain the 26,589 ghost workers on government payroll.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on April 18 directed the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to delete the names of 26,589 workers from the payroll for not registering on the new SSNIT biometric system.
The biometric verification is basically to isolate ghost names from the government’s payroll.
The Minister instructed the Controller to notify all public servants on government’s mechanised payroll system who had not registered on the new system to do so in a bid to avoid anomalies.
Some labour unions such as the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have complained bitterly over the fact that several of their members have had their names taken off the system in the course of the payroll audit.
But in an address at the ongoing National Police Summit in Accra Monday, the Hon. Ken Ofori Atta emphasised the need for labour unions to cooperate with the Ministry in finding a solution to the problem.
“We’ve had some remarks from some unions, the real question for all of us as a country is that we know that there’s some rot in there. We know we have to take some action, in the process of taking the action few wrong eggs will be broken. We should apologize for that but in terms of prinicipaly understanding and working with us towards a solution, I think that should be the spirit of which our labour partners talk to us. I don’t know the various names, which are wrong, but going through the numbers I actually found one or two directors of the Ministry of Finance being included in that list that they don’t exist so there are mistakes which is okay. But truly we are talking about a six to seven hundred or may be a billion cedis of potential savings. I think it is incumbent on all of us to work in that spirit becuase we at the Ministry have no interest in individual names but in making the payroll efficient.
He added: “If we also pursue the investigation I think it will be really embarassing that your young friend. Kwame in Elubo is actually able to pay three other people and put the money in his pocket. I’m not sure the labour unions are trying to support that type of action, so we do apologize for those who should not have been in. But I think we should all be resolved that we’re going to clean up so that individuals do not prioritize this business.”