Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed that a staggering 148,000 government workers, out of a total of 602,000 on the payroll of the Controller and Accountant Generals Department, are without corresponding biometric identification at the National Identification Authority.
He said the workers had been found with identifications which did not match any biometric identification at the National Identification Authority, after a biometric audit by the Department.
He made the disclosure during the 2022 Internal Audit Conference in Accra yesterday. It was dubbed “Injecting Fiscal Discipline in Resource Mobilisation and Utilization for Sustainable Development”.
Dr Bawumia also revealed that the Controller General’s biometric audit also found 533 workers on government payroll with multiple identities.
The Vice-President explained that as part of government’s quest to achieve fiscal consolidation, many steps had been taken, including improved revenue mobilisation and curbing wastages in the public sector by using digitisation.
These measures, Dr. Bawumia said, were part of a rigorous fight against identity fraud and corruption in the public sector, through the robust identity system the government is building with the Ghanacard and the digitization of government services.
“A key focus of the 2022 budget is fiscal consolidation to enhance debt and fiscal sustainability as we implement our economic revitalization and transformation programme to better the lives of Ghanaians,” the Vice-President said.
He recounted that over the last four years, government’s approach had been to put in place measures to build a solid foundation for domestic revenue mobilisation, cost saving and fighting corruption through digital transformation.
“And considerable progress has been made. An exercise just completed last week by the Controller and Accountant General Department shows that 533 people on the CAD have multiple identities in the CAGD database.
“In all cases of multiple identities, the employees have more than one CAGS account with different …numbers. Some have three employee numbers. There are also 148,060 employees out of 601,948 with biometrics that did not match anyone on the National Identification register…,” he stressed.
The Vice-President also revealed government’s plan to check the SSNIT database to ascertain whether their biometrics can be matched.
He noted that it was also possible some of those with matching biometrics may also have multiple employee accounts.
The startling revelations by the Vice-President follow news that a recent biometric audit by the National Service Scheme found about 14,000 ghost names on its payroll, which saved the Scheme about GHC 112m annually.
Dr Bawumia, who was not pleased with the level of losses due to corruption, charged the various prosecuting agencies to begin the processes of prosecuting persons involved in such criminal activities.
Through the government’s digitization drive and the implementation of a national identity system, SSNIT also announced major savings of up $126 million since it will no longer print SSNIT ID cards for its targeted 10 million people, following the adoption of the Ghanacard as SSNIT numbers.
The Vice-President underscored the significance of internal auditors to the quest to improve financial mobilisation and ensure fiscal discipline, adding that they should be seen as major stakeholders in the process.
“The role of internal auditors as gatekeepers of financial discipline with covered entities cannot be over-emphasized. Internal auditors ensure that the processes of public financial management are complete by ensuring that the required controls are working whilst drawing management attention to avoid pitfalls in public spending.
“By their advice and vigilance public sector waste and abuses have been minimized and annual infractions reported by the Auditor-General have seen some level of decline between 2019 and 2020,” he disclosed.
He called for the restructuring of the Internal Audit Service, and reiterated the government’s commitment towards that cause.
“Government will continue to restructure and reposition the public sector. Internal Audit in Ghana as an important public financial management institution to put public officers on their toes towards observing fiscal discipline in spending public funds. To effectively utilize internal audit resources in the country, all Internal Auditors will be brought under the management, administrative, technical control, and supervision of the new Internal Audit Service (IAS),” he stated
On the quest to revitalise the economy, following the recent downturn as a result of global factors, Dr. Bawumia stressed the need for increased revenue mobilization and prudent expenditure.
“A key focus of the 2022 budget is fiscal consolidation to enhance debt and fiscal sustainability as we implement our economic revitalization and transformation programme to better the lives of Ghanaians.
“These measures, which include expenditure validation and enhanced revenue measures, are to reposition the Ghana economy for accelerated growth. Indeed, implementation of the measures, highlighted in the 2022 budget, will lead to significant fiscal adjustment from a projected fiscal deficit, including energy IPP payments and financial sector clean-up cost of 12.1% of GDP in 2021 to 7.4% in 2022, representing an adjustment of 4.7 percentage points in just one year,” he pointed out.