No Ghana Card, No Salary
…For All Public Sector Workers From February 2024
A new directive from the department says all those on payroll of government who were given a window of opportunity in September, this year, to register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) but refused to do so would have themselves to blame if the implementation takes effect.
The ultimatum, though not the first by the controller, is to help government rid the payroll of ghost names, which have existed for decades.
Months ago, when the window of opportunity was given by the CAGD, through the NIA, for workers without the card to register, only 87 out of the over 260,000 workers took part in the exercise.
The Anchor has gathered the latest decision follows discussions with the NIA about a special registration exercise for those without the card, where the CAGD said such a decision had been taken and will affect the daily bread of thousands of incomes.
The meeting between the department and the NIA took place on October 11, 2023, when timelines for the proposed registration exercise was discussed.
However, according to a graphic online report, it appears there was a miscommunication, as CAGD later wrote to NIA seeking consent and agreement on the proposed timelines.
In response, the NIA stated that they had previously communicated their inability to conduct the special registration exercise.
Instead, they had opened offices nationwide for general registration on September 4, including a focus on targeted public sector employees on the government payroll.
In the light of this, the CAGD issued a critical advisory to its staff and members, urging them to register for their Ghana Cards at any of the 292 NIA offices nationwide.
Emphasizing priority for government employees, the CAGD has taken a firm stance on compliance.
Meanwhile, in August, this year, the executive secretary of the National Identification Authority informed journalists about a request that had been made to his outfit by the CAGD to make special arrangement to register these public sector workers who did not have the card.
Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah had indicated, in that encounter, that the authority had reserved the first 10 days, between August 28 and September 8, 2023, exclusively for public sector workers who have not applied for the Ghana Card yet to do so.
That exercise was supposed to serve as Phase I of the card registration exercise for the workers and subsequent one for young people who had attained 18 years and above.
He said such persons were required to present a copy of their previous month’s pay slips, in addition to other mandatory documents, to get registered and be issued with the Ghana Card.
“NIA will only accept and use for the registration the name of the Public Sector Worker as captured on the July 2023 Pay slip of an applicant,” he said.
According to him, the Controller and Accountant-General will need the biometric details of all public sector workers to roll them over into its biometric payroll, and it is only the Ghana Card that will be used to verify the identity of such persons for their monthly salaries to be paid.
Unfortunately, when the time came for the workers to throng the NIA offices for the registration exercise, only a handful of them went to take part.
A statement by the NIA revealed that out of the estimated 250, 000 – 260,000 workers on the payroll, who did not have their card, only 87 turned up for the registration exercise.
“The decision to apportion ten (10) days for Phase I was based on the figure provided by the Controller and Accountant Genera’s Department, estimating 250, 000-260, 000 Public Sector Workers on Government of Ghana (GoG) Payroll to participate in the Phase I. Unfortunately, only 87 of the targeted beneficiaries presented themselves for registration,” part of the NIA release said.
Meanwhile, some have called the bluff of the department, as this is not the first time it is issuing such directive.
In October 2021, the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department issued a similar directive, saying it will not withdraw its earlier directive ordering public sector workers to acquire the card by December 1, 2021, or forfeit their salaries.
At the time, there had been agitations by a section of government workers and unions after the department issued the directive on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, with some asking the Controller and Accountant-General to reconsider the directive and withdraw it completely or have the deadline extended.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Cephas Narh Dosso, the Head of Public Relations at CADG, reaffirmed the department’s directive, saying it was the best way to address challenges in government’s payroll system.
He explained that Section 8(4) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), mandated the CAGD to, among other functions, receive, disburse and provide secured custody for public funds.
He said, as a department which deals with about 500,000 government workers, it was necessary that it put in measures to ensure the integrity of the payroll at all times.
“We have a payroll that takes care of about 500,000 government employees nationwide. As a department, over the years, the CAGD has been instituting measures that will ensure that the integrity of the payroll is maintained at all times,” Mr. Dosoo explained.
This policy was expected to ensure a speedy administration of the payroll.
Interestingly, on the 19th of that same month, CAGD backtracked on that decision.
“By this notice, all existing and prospective Government workers are to ensure they are registered with the NIA and have obtained their Identity numbers,” portions of CAGD’s October 12, statement read.
However, this December deadline has been removed, and the compulsion to secure the Ghana Card eased, according to reports.