Benjamin Arthur — Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC
Benjamin Arthur — Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC

22% of wage bill in wrong pockets - FWSC

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has disclosed that preliminary monitoring report on 58 institutions has estimated that about 22 per cent of their wage bill is unearned salaries.

This development emerged from an ongoing nationwide payroll monitoring exercise to expunge existing anomalies and fraud in the public sector payroll.

The exercise is to save the country an estimated GH¢10 billion annually from unearned salaries.

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) disclosed this at a consultative meeting with chief directors, coordinating directors and human resource officers at the various outfits under the civil and local government services on the exercise.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC, Benjamin Arthur, said if the figure represented the entire public sector, it would mean that 22 per cent of the wage bill was going into unearned salaries.

“What it means is that the 2022 wage bill was GH¢42.9 billion, so 22 per cent of it is nearly GH¢10 billion. That is huge as we are paying a quarter of wage bill as unearned salaries, knowing very well that we need resources for other sectors of the economy,” he said.

The monitoring exercise forms part of the mandate of FWSC 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 government is the direct or indirect employer.

The overall objective of the exercise is to ensure fairness and equity in the pay administration, as well as manage the public sector wage bill.

Other projects 

Mr Arthur said the success of the programme depended on the support from key stakeholders to enable the country to clean the payroll.

“If we are able to save the GH¢10 billion annually, we can embark on a housing scheme for public workers and reduce the housing deficit in the country,” he said and added that it would also improve remuneration for public workers by minimising the incidence of payroll fraud and related corruption cases. 

Ten teams were set up for the exercise, each team comprising staff from FWSC and the Internal Audit Agency (IAA). Mr Arthur revealed that notices had been served on the various institutions in connection with the exercise. They were to comply with directives to do their internal auditing and share the reports with the commission.

The focus of the exercise this year, he said, would be on education, health and public administrations.

The exercise will not cover Article 71 office holders, he said, stressing, however, that “if we are instructed by the President to add Article 71 office holders, we shall be glad to do so”.

Deepen collaboration

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, urged the directors to work with the FWSC to clean up the public payroll for the country.

Meanwhile, he had tasked the commission to deepen engagements with other stakeholders and provide proper understanding of the exercise for maximum cooperation.

The Head of the Civil Service, Nana Kwasi Agyekum Dwamena, said his outfit would support the commission, saying the exercise was not only to weed out fraud but to, also, benefit persons who were not receiving the benefit they deserved as workers.

“This is a very important national exercise, and we will support it to make it a success,” he assured.

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