Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Public sector workers to be paid via ezwich

Public sector workers will be paid via the ezwich payment system with effect from October 2014.
For this reason, the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) is liaising with the Ghana Interbank Payment Settlement System (GHIPSS) to put in the necessary mechanisms to rid the payroll of fraud at the point of payment.
One of the contributory factors to the issue of “ghost names” on public sector payroll is the situation where some civil servants create double bank accounts and sometimes succeed in duping the system.
Under the new arrangement, civil servants will be required to sign up for the ezwich payment system.
The system is expected to guarantee checks and balances to ensure that salaries are channelled into single bank accounts.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra yesterday, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the CAGD, Mr Gilbert Nyaledzigbor, said the move was aimed at eliminating double bank accounts, preventing fraud at the point of payment and doing away with duplication of names on the government payroll.
Bank of Ghana directive
In line with the project, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has issued a directive to all commercial and rural banks to make the ezwich payment system available at all branches, so that civil servants could access them.
“To this end, the CAGD will soon issue guidelines to educate employees on the benefits of the ezwich system,” Mr Nyaledzigbor said.
He explained that the introduction of the ezwich payment system was a follow-up to the biometric registration of civil servants and pensioners which began in 2012.
“We want to improve the controls and build an effective registration process,” the PRO said.
The CAGD, he said, had also adopted a new strategy to use the database of the National Identification Authority (NIA) to validate the payroll data as an additional control.
Mr Nyaledzigbor explained that the information on the NIA database was more than what was captured by the CAGD.
The PRO further disclosed that the CAGD had instituted measures aimed at ensuring that heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) adhered to rules and guidelines under the Financial Administration Act.
E-SPV implementation
Mr Nyaledzigbor said the electronic salary payment voucher system (E-SPV), which had been introduced to rid government payroll of ghost names, gave heads of MDAs up to 48 hours to verify if civil servants were still at post, deceased or dismissed before salaries were released.
In the past, the manual system of generating payment vouchers was fraught with numerous challenges because heads of departments either did not respond to such enquiries or most of the time responded after salaries had been paid.
Under the law, the PRO of the CAGD said, heads of departments were not supposed to delegate the responsibility of filling out the E-SPV to anyone.

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