Over 259, 000 ‘Ghost Names’ To Lose Salaries
…After Failing To Acquire Ghana Card
The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) is set to seize salaries of some 259, 913 out of the estimated 260, 000 public sector workers who were given a window of opportunity to exclusively register for the Ghana Card, but failed to do so.
This is after the concerned workers had been given a 10-day grace period by the National Identification Authority (NIA) to register, at no cost, except the presentation of their July 2023 pay-slips, in addition to meeting the mandatory registration requirements.
The move is to ensure “ghost free” names on the government payroll, which, for years, has been bedeviled with names of persons that cannot be vouched for, but who draw salary every month, the CAGD explained, adding that, if successful, it would mean attaining an issue-free biometric payroll system.
But, according to the NIA, out of the estimated 260, 000 figure that was expected to register, only a paltry 87 public sector workers had registered for the all-important exercise within a period of five days.
“The objective is to ensure that such workers are enabled to be verified with their Ghana Card on the payroll system of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department,” a statement from the NIA on August 23 said.
The Controller, The Anchor gathered, is leaving no stone unturned to remove these ghost names on the payroll and has identified that details on the Ghana Card are the most effective and efficient means these workers can be verified and system pruned down.
And so, despite the low turnout, the strictly “No Ghana Card No Pay” policy remains in place and so in no time it would be rolled out, he noted.
Sources say the Controller is unwavering to rid the national biometric payroll system off ghost-workers, who for decades have been drawing huge salaries every month.
Recall that a while ago, the Controller implored the National Identification Authority to give these workers a grace period to exclusively register for their cards, ahead of the implementation exercise.
The NIA, led by its executive secretary, Prof. Ken Attafuah, thus obliged the request and so ahead of its national exercise to register Ghanaians from 15-year-olds, made provision for the about 260, 000 figure to take the opportunity.
However, as it turned out, the expected staggering number did not show up for six working days, out of the 10 days, giving many to ponder about asking what could have caused the low turnout. Some have even guessed that it could be that the yet-to-be-registered numbers are ghosts, who have no business being on the payroll in the first place.
The NIA has therefore said it has truncated the exercise.
In a statement, it said it has abandoned that exercise and shifted its attention on the second phase where young people from age 15 years and above are expected to throng its district offices to acquire their cards for the first time, without any cost.
The statement issued on Sunday September 3, 2023, by the corporate affairs directorate, said, “The National Identification Authority (NIA) announces for the information of the general public that Phase I of the Ghana Card Registration exercise, which was exclusively reserved for first-time applicants who are Public Sector Workers on the Government of Ghana (GoG) Payroll has come to an end. Phase I of the exercise, originally planned to last for ten (10) days (i.e., from 28th August to 8th September 2023), has been truncated as a result of the unexpectedly low turnout.”
“The decision to apportion ten (10) days for Phase I was based on the figures provided by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, estimating 250,000 – 260,000 Public Sector Workers on GoG Payroll to participate in the Phase I. Unfortunately, only 87 of the targeted beneficiaries presented themselves for registration,” the statement said in parts.
The next phase, as indicted by the NLA, started on Monday September 4 to ostensibly ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources, and to ensure that other members of the public are able to access NIA’s services.
“They can go to any of the 276 District Offices across the country,” it said, adding “This free registration service is also available at NIA Regional Offices in Accra, Bolgatanga, Cape Coast, Dambai, Damongo, Goaso, Nalerigu and Wa.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the free service for first-time applicants will NOT be available in the following NIA Regional Offices which currently operate as Premium Registration Centers: Ho, Koforidua, Kumasi, Sunyani, Sefwi-Wiawso, Takoradi, Tamale and Techiman,” the statement said.
Replacement and Update services at the non-premium centres attract a statutory fee of GH¢34.50.
NIA also announced that it has resumed the Household and Institutional Registration services for households of five (5) or more Ghanaians, and institutions of 50 or more Ghanaians at a cost of 150ghs per applicant for the Household and 100ghs per applicant for the Institutional Registration.
“For more information and updates on the registration process, please visit our official website at www.nia.gov.gh or contact our call hotline at (0302 999306 – 9, 0302, 0302 738333, 0242 438 615),” it concluded.