Govt to get rid of ghost work­ers

Sunday Express - - NEWS - 10 News Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE Min­istry of Pub­lic Ser­vice has em­barked on an ex­er­cise to elim­i­nate ghost work­ers from the govern­ment’s pay­roll through a bio­met­ric pay­roll cen­sus.

The project is spear­headed by a United King­dom hu­man re­sources com­pany, Char­lie Gold­smith As­so­ciates, who are ex­pected to get rid of bo­gus work­ers in the next four months.

The pro­gramme that was launched on Thurs­day will also as­sess the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of the civil ser­vants.

The cen­sus is be­ing un­der­taken un­der the Pub­lic-Sec­tor Mod­erni­sa­tion Project funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$ 1,5 mil­lion (M20.8 mil­lion).

Char­lie Gold­smith As­so­ciates is also man­dated to con­duct a head­count and ver­ify all pub­lic of­fi­cers and civil pen­sion­ers. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is also tasked to iden­tify anom­alies on the pay­roll and rec­om­mend mea­sures to pre­vent the re­cur­rence of the prob­lems. Prepara­tory work started in 2016 from which cen­sus frame­work and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies were de­vel­oped.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Min­is­ter Joang Mo­lapo said the cab­i­net em­barked on the study to ar­rest the sky­rock­et­ing wage bill that has been at­trib­uted to ghost work­ers.

“The govern­ment has for a long time lamented the high rate of non-ex­is­tent work­ers who are be­ing paid,” Mr Mo­lapo said.

“Some are ei­ther dead and still get­ting paid while some are reg­is­tered mul­ti­ple times un­der dif­fer­ent iden­ti­ties. The ob­jec­tive is to ex­tract a rep­utable im­age of the pub­lic ser­vice there­fore, ev­ery per­son on the govern­ment pay­roll, in­clud­ing pen­sion­ers and chiefs, will be head-counted.”

Mr Mo­lapo said those who will be found to have cheated the sys­tem would be pros­e­cuted as the govern­ment moves to ar­rest the bal­loon­ing civil ser­vice wage bill.

“Those who are found guilty of this fraud will face crim­i­nal charges.”

Mr Mo­lapo said Char­lie Gold­smith As­so­ciates won the open ten­der based on its mer­its. He also noted that since the project was be­ing funded by the World Bank, it does not mat­ter whether or not the com­pany is lo­cally owned.

“The United King­dom com­pany was con­tracted through an open ten­der and it won based on its mer­its. World Bank funded projects do not con­sider the ori­gin of one as long as they are as­sured that they will de­liver. Le­sotho com­pa­nies have worked in other coun­tries as well un­der World Bank.

“The govern­ment also rests as­sured that the com­pany which will be work­ing with two lo­cal con­sul­tants, will de­liver a ster­ling job. They also said that four months will be enough as they have done this kind of job be­fore in other coun­tries and al­ready have an es­ti­mate of the num­ber of peo­ple they ex­pect to be on the govern­ment pay­roll,” Mr Mo­lapo said.

Char­lie Gold­smith As­so­ciates’ web­site says that the “re­sult will be to im­prove the in­tegrity of hu­man re­sources and pay­roll data”.

“Un­der the World Bank funded Pub­lic Ser­vice Mod­erni­sa­tion Project (PSMP), we are sup­port­ing Le­sotho to un­der­take a na­tion­wide bio­met­ric and pay­roll cen­sus (BPC), to ver­ify around 50 000 pub­lic of­fi­cers in 27 ministries (all ex­cept the Le­sotho De­fence Force and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice) at na­tional and lo­cal lev­els. The re­sult will be to im­prove the in­tegrity of hu­man re­sources and pay­roll data, through the de­vel­op­ment of a new BPC data­base.

“Our data­base will in­ter­face seam­lessly with ex­ist­ing Min­istry of Pub­lic Ser­vice and Min­istry of Home Af­fairs data­bases, com­ple­ment­ing the on­go­ing na­tional reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise by the lat­ter. We are de­vel­op­ing se­cure, be­spoke tools for data col­lec­tion, ver­i­fi­ca­tion, anal­y­sis, re­port­ing and in­te­gra­tion.”

Mr Mo­lapo fur­ther said that all civil ser­vants and pen­sion­ers are ex­pected to bring their na­tional iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments (IDs), ap­point­ment let­ters, pro­mo­tional let­ters, trans­fers, aca­demic cer­tifi­cates and April 2018 payslips. Mar­riage cer­tifi­cates for those whose maiden names ap­pear on any doc­u­ments are also re­quired.

How­ever, he said the re­quire­ment of qual­i­fi­ca­tions proof is not di­rected at fir­ing civil ser­vants but to as­sess the com­pe­tency of the work­force to es­tab­lish where there is need for ca­pac­i­ta­tion.

“It is a must to have a na­tional IDs there­fore, those with­out them will not be enu­mer­ated. How­ever, the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs will be sup­port­ing the cen­sus by in­stalling mo­bile ser­vices in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try and those with­out IDs will be given only a week to get them, fail­ure of which they will be dis­missed and re­placed,” Mr Mo­lapo said.

Min­istry of pub­lic ser­vice hu­man re­source man­ager, ‘Mama­hooana Nkeli, in­di­cated that the project started in Maseru with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture.

She said ser­vants should be on the look­out for cir­cu­lars at their work places which will tell when Char­lie Gold­smith As­so­ciates will visit. She also said that pen­sion­ers will be served at their dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tors’ of­fices.

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