Efficiency, Accountability and Integrity

Ashaiman Public sector workers react to the No Ghana Card, No Salary deadline

January 17, 2024

Some public sector employees in the Ashaiman Municipality have expressed mixed reactions to the directives from the Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD) to suspend the salaries of employees who are yet to acquire Ghana Cards.

Mr. Reynard Annison, a local government employee, responding to the directive, told the Ghana News Agency that he disagreed with it, indicating that the Ghana Card was supposed to be for identification purposes and not to pay salary.

Mr. Annison said since Ghana had other forms of identification, such as birth certificates, passports, and voter IDs, people must be allowed to use them instead of tying their salaries to their Ghana Card after working to earn it.

He added that a lot of public workers had tried obtaining the Ghana Card but to no avail; therefore, it would be unfair and unjust to deny them their salaries through no fault of theirs.

Last year, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) said government employees without a Ghana Card would not receive their salaries from March 2024, noting that it underscored the importance of having the card as a prerequisite for salary disbursement to ensure compliance with identification and documentation requirements.

The directive issued by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) was part of its measures to help expunge ghost names on the government’s payroll.

Ms. Faith Kugbajor, a civil servant expressing her disagreement with the GNA, said some of them had misplaced their cards and therefore did not even know their identity number.

She said salaries must be paid because the workers had worked for them; therefore, withholding them because of the Ghana Card was not the best.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has urged the government to collaborate with the National Identification Authority (NIA) to register public workers who do not have Ghana cards.

Mr. Abraham Koomson, GFL Secretary General, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that there were many public workers who had not been able to acquire their Ghana Cards due to technical challenges, and condemned the government’s decision to freeze the salaries of public workers who did not have Ghana Cards.

Mr. Koomson said that although the move by the government was to sanitise the public payroll, the approach was wrong.

“We know some unscrupulous people have been using the names of persons who have died to draw salaries on the government’s payroll, but this approach will not help,” he said while advising the government to review its approach.

Mr. Koomson urged the government to ensure that all public workers had the Ghana card through a new registration exercise for all government workers.

It would be recalled that in 2021, labour unions challenged CAGD when it attempted to introduce the policy in December 2021 and called on CAGD to reconsider its directive.

Some of the labour unions that kicked against it were the GFL, the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).

In 2021, GNAT described the policy as a threat to Ghanaian workers and said that it was unacceptable.

The ICU said using the Ghana Card as a conditionality for the payment of salaries was most unfortunate.

In 2021, the GFL served notice that it would test the authority of the CAGD: “We are going to test the authority of the Controller on the use of the Ghana Card as the sole form of identity for the payment of salaries in court.”.

The GFL wondered why the CAGD was not using the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) cards of workers for that purpose.

The widespread opposition to the strategy resulted in its withdrawal and suspension in 2021.

Source: GNA