Bawumia vs. Controller: Did Ghana eliminate ghost names in 23 days?

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The subject of ghost names on the government payroll has been an annual ritual in terms of discovery and media reportage as successive governments lament their presence and its overall effect on the public purse.

In recent years, the digital route has become a strong remedy in the conversations around finding a permanent solution to the scourge.

Enter Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia’s digitalization efforts and how an integrated system from various stakeholders could help minimize, if not eliminate ghost names.

Bawumia introduces new policy to clear ‘ghost’ names in government payroll

On January 10, 2024, Bawumia rolled out a new policy initiated by the government to eliminate ‘ghost’ names from the public sector payroll system.

While addressing an audience at the launch of the National Mechanised Payroll Database of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) in Accra, he explained that as part of efforts to purge the government’s payroll of all ‘ghost names’, the new policy would ensure that all government workers link their Ghana Card details to the payroll.

“This linkage between the NIA database and the government payroll will significantly contribute to eliminating the incidence of ghost names on the government of Ghana’s mechanized payroll system, which has persisted for some time,” Bawumia stated in a social media post.

There are no more ghost names on the government payroll – Controller declares

Barely a month after Bawumia launched what was to be a solution to the decades-long headache, the Controller and Accountant General, Kwasi Kwaning Bosompem, declared that there are no ghost names on the government’s payroll.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2024 Controller and Accountant General’s Department Annual Conference in Kumasi (February 1 – 2), the government’s chief accountant said that the ghost name-free payroll had come about because of a newly implemented comprehensive digital solution.

The said solution is behind the ‘No Ghana Card – No Pay’ policy; the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) is currently readying itself to roll out effective March 2024.

“Payroll database has been an active database all these years. What it means is that we’ve gone through a process of putting intervention in place to make sure the payroll database is credible and that there would not be any instance where we’ll find an unauthorized person existing on the payroll and benefiting from the government’s resources.”

On the specific subject of ghost names, Bosompem told journalists emphatically: “There are no ghost names [on government’s payroll] recently,” according to a report on Asaase Radio.

About the National Mechanised Payroll Database

National Mechanised Payroll Database of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) with the National Identification Authority (NIA) Database provides real-time biometric validation and verification of government workers decentralized to the various CAGD Verification Centres across the country to ensure more accessibility and convenience.

The system will ensure real-time validation and verification of new and old employees, improve data accuracy for decision-making, and enhance transparency and accountability.

It is expected to save the government the huge costs of regular Payroll Audits across the country since the data can be audited anytime at source and will operate in decentralized biometric verification centers, saving users the cost of traveling to Accra for validation and verification.



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