Public sector workers offered another opportunity to register

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Kweku Kwarteng, Deputy Minister Finance
Kweku Kwarteng, Deputy Minister Finance

The government has given a lifeline to 26,589 public sector workers who failed to register biometrically with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

Although they will not receive their April 2017 salaries, the government has assured the affected workers that those who biometrically upgrade their personal data with SSNIT by May 3, 2017, will receive their April 2017 salaries on May 15, 2017.

“All those who are legitimate government workers but have not been able to go through the SSNIT biometric registration are required to do so before their salaries will be released to them,” a statement signed by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, said. 

“Those who go through the registration before May 3, 2017 will be paid by May 15, 2017,” it assured.

Legitimate concerns

According to the statement, workers who have gone through the SSNIT biometric registration but have been “mistakenly blocked can be assured that by the same May 15, 2017, their salaries will be released to them upon resolution of the errors”.

“Government is grateful to all stakeholders for their support in assisting it to clean the pay-roll and to make savings for investment into the lives of the citizenry,” it added.

Concerns

Concerns have been raised by teachers and other public servants over the suspension of their salaries for failing to go through the SSNIT biometric registration.

A total of 26,589 public service workers are yet to comply with the directive. More than 13,000 teachers have been affected by the suspension. 

Biometric registration of public sector workers began in 2015.

A total of 457,595 public sector workers have so far complied with the directive from the government to biometrically register their personal data with the SSNIT.

The Controller and Accountant-General, Mr Seidu Kotomah, in an interview with the Daily Graphic on April 24, 2017 said the 26,589 public workers would not be paid this month.

Mr Kotomah said his outfit was complying with the directive from the Ministry of Finance directing the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) to suspend the payment of salaries of the affected public sector workers.

Majority of the affected persons are trained teachers who have expressed reservations about the new directive, but Mr Kotomah indicated that the issues raised by affected public servants were not valid.

“They have no cause to complain. They simply have to comply with the directive and their salaries will be paid accordingly,” Mr Kotomah indicated.

According to him, the new directive was in the interest of the affected public servants because their failure to register biometrically would affect their pension benefits.

“The SSNIT has upgraded its system and we expect public sector workers to do same. Failure to do so means their records will not be upgraded at SSNIT and that will negatively affect them when they go on retirement,” Mr Kotomah stressed.

He consequently pleaded with the affected public sector workers to visit the SSNIT offices to upgrade their records biometrically.

Head of Payroll

Explaining further, the Head of Payroll at the CAGD, Mr George Kofi Baah, said there were more than 457,595 public sector workers who had registered biometrically with the SSNIT, but their data was not with the CAGD because they had been engaged by other public sector agencies.

“The payroll cycle is closed. The affected workers cannot access their salaries this month. Those who comply on time before the next payroll cycle opens will receive their arrears next month,” Mr Baah assured.

Background

Several directives spanning a period of more than a year have been issued to public servants, instructing them to biometrically upgrade their records with the SSNIT.

However, the 26,589 affected public sector workers have still not complied despite the many reminders. 

Subsequently, the Ministry of Finance sent a directive to the CAGD to withhold the salaries of the affected public servants until they comply with the directive.