The Ministry of Finance has rendered an apology to civil servants whose names were deleted from government payroll following measures by government to sanitise the system by deleting ghost names.
The Ministry ordered the removal of 26,589 names of public workers from government payroll. Those affected had not been registered on the new SSNIT biometric system, despite several directives to do so.
The move, according to the ministry, was to protect the public purse by plugging all leakages in the system. However, some genuine public sector workers were mistakenly deleted from the payroll, angering some labour unions.
Presenting a speech at the ongoing National Policy Summit in Accra on Monday, 15 May, sector minister Ken Ofori-Atta apologised and called on labour groups to exercise restraint as the ministry expeditiously resolves the challenge.
“With wage issues we have to stay within appropriation and control of wages. We did an exercise recently in which quite a number of people were taking out of the payroll. We’ve had some remarks from some unions, but the real question for all of us in the country is that we know that there is some rot in there, we know we need to take some action and in the process of taking the action a few wrong eggs will be broken and we should apologise for that,” he stated.
He continued: “But in terms of principally understanding and appreciating and working towards a solution, I think that should be the spirit of which our labour partners talk to us. I don’t know the labour partners who we may have wronged, but going through the numbers I actually found one or two of the directors of finance being included in the list that they don’t exist.
So there are mistakes, which is OK, but truly we are talking about six, seven hundred or even a billion cedis of potential savings. I think it’s incumbent on all of us to work in that spirit because we at the Ministry have no personal interest in individual names but in making it efficient because if we also pursue the investigation I think it will be very embarrassing to realise that your young friend Kojo or Kwame in Elubo is actually able to continue to pay three other people and put that money in his pocket.
“I’m not sure the labour unions are trying to support that type of action, so we do apologise for those who should not have been in but I think we should all resolve that we are going to clean up so that individuals do not privatise this business.”