GOVERNMENT has appointed a committee which will spearhead the biometric registration of civil servants, an exercise that is expected to help streamline the public sector payroll through weeding out of “ghost workers”.
The registration exercise is part of broad measures that have been adopted by Government — through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme — to rationalise its wage bill.
In an interview yesterday, Public Service Commission deputy communications manager Mr Ethet Gambe said:
“A committee has been set up but treasury has not released any funds so it’s something that is on the table awaiting funding to kick off. Once funds are availed it will take off but we don’t know when they will release the funds.”
He could not give names or details on the composition of the committee saying it will be unveiled when the exercise kicks off.
Presenting the 2019 National budget late last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said previous civil service audits undertaken by Government pointed to the possible existence of ghost workers, contributing to the burgeoning public service wage bill which accounts for over 90 percent of total revenues.
“Clearly, this goes against the thrust of re-orienting budget expenditures towards growth enhancing and poverty reducing developmental programmes and projects through rationalisation of the Public Service Wage Bill.
“Mr Speaker Sir, to weed out these ghost workers, I propose to introduce a biometric registration of all civil servants, with effect from 1 January 2019,” said Prof Ncube.
The Finance Minister said the registration process will be rigorous and will involve capturing data on Letter of Appointment, Academic and Professional Qualifications, National Identification Documents, Employment Code Numbers, and Biometric Data.
He said the biometric data will involve capturing of one’s unique physical attributes such as fingerprints, DNA, iris and retina pattern, using ICT.
“The above system will ensure that every person being paid by Government for services rendered is properly accounted for,” said Prof Ncube.
Government has 158 994 workers on its payroll, of which 123 000 are employed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
A similar exercise in Tanzania in 2016 managed to net 10 000 ghost workers.
It is understood that the process managed to save the East African country more than $2 million per month.
Similarly, the Mozambican government announced that it had discovered more than 30 000 ghost workers on its payroll, which had prejudiced the country of more than $250 million between 2015 and 2017.