— Says National Payroll Clean-up Task Force; Launches E-Verification Platform
As a part of the government’s over-all Civil Service Reform Agenda, the National Payroll Clean-up Taskforce has announced with immediate effect that no civil servant will be paid a salary without bearing a National Identification Card, beginning July 2020.
The task force includes the Civil Service Agency (CSA), National Identification Registry (NIR), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), and the Internal Audit Agency (IAA).
James A. Thompson, Acting CSA Director General, who read a statement on behalf of the joint task force on June 10, 2020, said the announcement marks the beginning of the enforcement of a key provision of the Wage Bill Control Regulation, which was endorsed by Cabinet on March 9, 2020, making the national ID number a compulsory requirement for Government employees’ salary payments.
According to him, the National Identification Card is a compulsory requirement for Government employees’ salary payments.
“We are announcing here today that, beginning with the month July 2020 pay period, no Government employee will receive salary payment without a biometric National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identification Registry (NIR),” Thompson said.
“The measure is intended to remove ghost names from government payroll and should be taken seriously by all employees,” Mr. Thompson warned.
He said: “A stop-salary-payment action will be taken against all employees who have not provided valid national ID numbers to their ministries or agencies, and/or have not taken the national ID cards.”
At the same time, the task force used the occasion to launch a program coded, “E-Verification Platform,” which is also intended to improve the Government’s “wage bill management system.”
He said employees will have the opportunity to take the national ID card at various NIR centers across the country, after which the stop-salary-payment action will be effected against government workers.
Thompson further said the existing registration center and the office of the National Identification Registry in Congo Town, Monrovia, has been reactivated.
“Additional registration centers will be announced over the radio and in newspapers; senior officials of the government – mainly appointed and elected officials – will also be provided a special center,” he added.
He disclosed that at the special center, those senior officials who have not taken the national ID card can do so without obstacles and delays.”
The CSA Acting Director-General said the Payroll Clean-up Task Force through the National Identification Registry manifestation of institutionalizing the national identification number as the primary and sole biometric identity of government employees has formally granted the Civil Service Agency & the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning full access to the electronic verification platform of the national ID system.
Thompson further emphasized that the move is a major development that will enable the CSA and the MFDP to gain direct access to the NIR database for the purpose of authenticating the identity of civil servants and that the E-verification platform has been used to verify the National ID of more than fifty thousand government employees since its endorsement.
Some of the cleaning measures the Task Force outlined include Automation of retirement and pensioning of overage and inactive government workers.
“To achieve this, our team is working with (NASSCORP) to ensure retirees removed from the active government payroll are immediately placed on the pension payroll of the National Social Security and Welfare Cooperation, Physical verification and headcounts of employees at the various spending entities across Liberia. He named the spending entities across Liberia as Education, Health, and Security, which he said are the largest employment sectors.
He also spoke of streamlining of employment and replacements within spending entities to the extent that all replacement of employees is centralized through the Civil Service Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
“We commend President George Manneh Weah for supporting our team in these painstaking efforts undertaken over the past year to streamline the Government wage bill, which had grown to US$327 million in 2018 and represented more 68% of our National Budget but has now been stabilized at US$297 million. With the continuous political will and support of the President Weah, and the Cabinet, and the entire Liberian workforce, this unusually high compensation cost will sustainably be reduced to free up the needed fiscal space to fund investment programs and service delivery that were critical to achieving any substantive change for the citizens of Liberia,” Thompson indicated.
The chairperson of the National Payroll Clean-up Task Force, Del-Francis Wreh, said the launch of the platform is a great move by government to ensure that ghost names are removed from the payroll, noting that it is also complementary to saving money for other development purposes.
He said the goal of the task force will be achieved with caliber of member-institutions comprising its constitution, which includes the CSA, MFDP and the NIR being major players in payroll management control of the national identification system of the country.
Mr. Wreh noted that in order for the task force to fight fraud in the system, the government of Liberia will pay salaries to employees who are bearers of the national identification cards produced and issued by the NIR.
NIR Executive Director, J. Tiah Nagbe, who also spoke at the launch, re-emphasized the importance of the National Identification Card, which will help the government to manage and operate a sizeable payroll system in the country.