Payroll monitoring exercise necessary – Graphic Online

A preliminary monitoring report by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on 58 institutions has estimated that about 22 per cent of the government’s wage bill is unearned salaries.

The shocking revelation emerged from an ongoing nationwide payroll monitoring exercise meant to expunge existing anomalies and fraud in the public sector payroll and save the ailing economy an estimated GH¢10 billion annually from unearned salaries.

It means that we are paying a quarter of the wage bill as unearned salaries per the analysis of the FWSC.

The Daily Graphic finds the development not only disappointing and regrettable, but also a big indictment on us as a nation in search of financial support from international donors.

At a time when the country’s financial position is so weak and calling for external intervention, the last thing we want to hear is this unending canker which many governments to date have not been able to find a solution to.

The revelation begs the question as to where the huge investments in acquiring software and systems to prevent such fraudulent acts have gone to.

From history, the Daily Graphic can report that more than $200 million has been expended on many software programs meant to supposedly sanitise the government payroll but to no avail.

The Daily Graphic finds the development extremely unfair to private sector workers because the country is spending more than 60 per cent of its domestic revenue  on salaries and emoluments on less than a million workers, all of whom are in the public sector.

It is against this background that we commend the FWSC for the monitoring exercise which forms part of its mandate as a government agency per FWSC Act, 2007 (Act 737), to develop and monitor allowances and benefits, as well as co-ordinate, manage and monitor collective bargaining processes in which the government is the direct or indirect employer.

The overall objective of the exercise is apt by all standards because it is intended to ensure fairness and equity in salary administration, as well as manage the public sector wage bill.

What we need to know is that the key objectives for any payroll system are to produce payroll accurately, on time, and in compliance with the law. Most importantly, the payroll must be devoid of any breaches and infractions, especially looking at the magnitude reported by the FWSC.

The Daily Graphic is taking the opportunity to prevail on the government and public sector workers’ associations and unions, in particular, to join hands to end this practice which seems never to go away.

We all need to be mindful of the fact that our economy is going through turbulence, a situation which has forced the government to resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout.

We have been to the IMF 17 times (including the present) and this is worrying because it clearly portrays the country as one that is incapable of managing its finances. We need to collectively sit up to ensure that these huge loopholes in the country’s payroll system are blocked for good.

Let us note that the stolen funds end up in the pockets of a handful of people and therefore we, in the majority, have to be extra vigilant to point out suspicious acts which, if not checked, will impoverish us while the few swim in their ill-gotten wealth at our expense.

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