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05.11.2008 General News

Govt Orders Halt Of Pay Deductions

By Kwadwo B. Donkor - newtimesonline.com

The government has with immediate effect, directed the Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD) to suspend all recoveries due to overpayment.

The department is to also pay back all deductions made from last month's salary and all arrears due workers by this Friday, November 7.

The government also apologized to workers whose salaries were slashed last month due to the implementation of the new payroll system.

The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, gave the directive yesterday at a press conference in Accra.

It was to address the anomalies in the October salaries of most workers particularly teachers due to the implementation of the newer version of the Integrated Public Payroll Database (IPPD2).

Dr. Osei said a decision “will be taken after thorough investigations into the recoveries” as to whether to spread the deductions over a period of time or write them off.  

When the CADG changed over to the upgraded version of the IPPD2 last month, most workers who had been overpaid over the years as result of the failure in the first system had the overpayment recovered from their salaries.

This resulted in some people having negative zero or very little salaries.

Dr. Osei said although the recovery was a bad idea, there was the need to treat the issue with a human face as the overpayment was not the fault of the workers, but rather  a system failure.

He said it would therefore be unfair to punish them by recovering the whole amount involved at a go.

He denied that the decision to suspend the recovery was borne out by its political cost to the government, saying that if there was any political consideration at all, it was due to the fact that the “Christmas is just around the corner and people will have to buy some few items for the festive occasion.”

Dr. Osei said in order to ensure that the system worked effectively, the government had procured a second software (Microsoft) to back up the new system and a third one was also being considered.

The minister and his team were however unable to tell how much recoveries were made and how much was involved in the overpayment but gave the assurance that after a thorough investigation of the system, “the whole figure will be made public.”

The Controller and Accountant General, Christian T. Sottie, explained that the since the government started using the IPPD2 software for the government payroll, it had detected some anomalies which include underpayment and overpayment of salaries and the bulk of the workers affected were teachers.

As part of measures to check the problem and its recurrence, he said Oracle, the manufacturer of the software, was asked to upgrade the system to include checks installed  to recover all the over paid salaries and pay back the all the underpayment.

This, according to him, was what happened last month resulting in some people receiving negative or zero salaries.

He agreed that there should have been a prior notice to workers before the implementation of the new software and assured the public that the necessary steps would be taken to sensitise them if the recovery was to start again.

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