Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor-General (A-G), on Tuesday, this week, called on all persons lawfully on government payroll to dispel fears that their names will be taken off.
“The purpose is to remove those who are unlawfully put on the payroll. If you are on the payroll unlawfully, we are here for you, but if you are lawfully on the payroll, we are not here because of you. So fear not.”
He assured, especially the public and civil servants, that the Nationwide Payroll and Personnel Verification Audit of the Government of Ghana Payroll was not intended to remove their names from the payroll, but to ensure that those whose names were genuinely there remained on it.
The A-G who said “we are in a hurry, but we are not in a hurry,” explained that his outfit was in a hurry to take people out of the payroll, but stressed that “we are not going to do that recklessly,” adding that it was an audit exercise which entailed a gradual process.
Mr Domelovo said these words at a meeting with heads of departments in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, to school them on the ongoing exercise, which was in line with section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (ACT 584).
He said they would issue “management letters” to various management institutions, indicating the number of people who could not be accounted for and would have to be taken off the payroll, and noted that per section 29 of the Audit Service Act, a 30-day span would be given to such institutions to justify the existence of such names.
“After the 30 days, if you do not come with justification for those names, then, we will kick them out. Let’s not get to that point, because we are not going to remove them only from the payroll,” but, clause 7(a) of Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution mandates the A-G to disallow the items of expenditure.
“I would issue a certificate to disallow your existence on the payroll, and according to article 187 clause 9, you would need a High Court Judge to overturn my decision. It is a tall order, so take us seriously,” he warned.
Mr Domelovo called on heads of departments to support him eradicate ghost names from the payroll. “In fact, the most worrying part of the issue is, today, as we speak, our young ones are itching to work and be paid, but they do not have the chance, so many are unemployed, and we have people who are not working but get paid.”
He acknowledged that though the exercise had been done severally in the past, “we apologise for that, but we have to do it again. The truth of the matter is that the payroll has too much unlawful expenditure, and we must clear it.”
Dr Mohammed Sani Abdulai, Project Director of the Public Financial Management Reforms Project (PFMRP), said the PFMRP was a World Bank project which financed the activities of the A-G, and reiterated that the intention was to get every employee on the payroll enumerated to ensure that they were, indeed, the people on the payroll.
He said wages and salaries that were paid on the budget, debt servicing by way of payment of interest, and the statuary funds allocations were the three main key elements that confronted the nation.
Dr Abdulai said about 45 percent of the nation’s revenues went into paying salaries of only 600,000 employees of the government, “so then what is really left when you finish paying interest and when you finish obeying the constitution and other Acts of Parliament that have made certain statutory allocations? You are more or less left with 10 percent,” he emphasised.
He said the physical space was very narrow, adding that “it is important that once in a while we look at the employees and ask ourselves, those we are paying 45 percent of our revenue to, are they really there, and are we paying them the right salaries they ought to be receiving?”
The exercise started in the Upper East Region on October 9 with enumeration of heads of departments, and was expected to continue to October 16 in 13 municipalities and districts, while a mop up exercise would be done in three selected municipalities namely, Bolgatanga, Bawku and the Kassena-Nankana, from 17th to 23rd of October.