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Equatorial Guinea, Ghana want to flush out ‘ghost’ public workers using biometrics

Equatorial Guinea, Ghana want to flush out ‘ghost’ public workers using biometrics

The use of biometrics to identify government workers in African countries has been gaining traction over the years, and Equatorial Guinea and Ghana are the latest countries wishing to improve the efficiency of their public payrolls with the technology.

Ghana’s National Identification Authority (NIA) has declared its willingness to help the government expunge public workers who are defrauding the state of huge sums of money for little or no work done. The ID-issuing authority says this is possible with the mandatory enrollment for the Ghana Card by all public sector workers, which began on August 28. This move in Ghana comes at a time when the oil-rich central African nation of Equatorial Guinea has also launched a biometric identification drive for all government workers. The government in Malabo says it wants to have a clear picture of how many civil servants and contract workers are on its payroll.

Ghanaian workers reportedly fleeing mandatory Ghana Card registration

After the campaign for compulsory Ghana Card registration started this week, some Ghanaian public sector works are avoiding the exercise, according to local reports.

GhanaWeb reports that despite the huge number of Ghanaian government workers without a Ghana Card, the turnout at registration centers for enrollment is extremely low, two days into the campaign which is expected to run for ten days.

The mandatory Ghana Card registration is a recommendation of the Comptroller and Accountant General’s office which found out during a biometric audit last year that out of over 600,000 government workers, nearly 150,000 of them had no match with data in the NIA database. This has since sparked suspicion of fraud.

The low turnout at registration centers since the ten-day campaign started is being interpreted as a deliberate attempt by suspected wrongdoers to avoid being exposed, GhanaWeb writes, quoting some registration center supervisors.

The concerned workers are expected to present a number of personal documents for the registration exercise such as their payslip for the month of July, birth certificate, a valid Ghanaian passport, and a citizenship certificate, among others.

Meanwhile, NIA Executive Secretary Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah has said only the name of the worker as found on their July payslip will be accepted for the registration, per News Ghana.

Officials have warned that those who fail to identify themselves this time could have their salaries suspended.

Equatorial Guinea seeks headcount of all govt workers

A similar biometric registration campaign is underway in Equatorial Guinea to enroll public servants and contract workers, We Are Tech Africa writes.

Launched by the Labour and Public Service Minister Julien Yombouno, the campaign will run for 44 days and will involve over 87,000 workers in all government ministries, departments and agencies. A local biometric software development firm Digitalis is said to have been awarded the contract.

The minister has explained that the registration is meant to set up a central biometric database for government workers who will also be issued a unique service number. This is to ensure that each worker can earn only one salary.

At the end of the registration exercise, each registrant will have a temporary receipt, before a professional card is later issued.

With this, it will become clearer “exactly how much the state pays its civil servants every month,” Yombouno said.

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