The Controller & Accountant Generals Department (C & A G D) was established under the civil service Act, 1960, (C.A.5).The constitution and administration Act, 2003, Act 654 provides the legal framework that governs the operations and functions of the Controller & Accountant General.

As Chief Accounting Officer of the government of Ghana, the Controller & Accountant Generals Department is also responsible for paying salaries of public sector workers on the mechanized payroll.

Thus employees of public sector organizations such as the Civil Service, Ghana health Service, Local government service, the polytechnics, subvented agencies such as the Electoral Commission(EC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ),  Statistical Service, Politicians including the president and some security agencies such as the Ghana National Fire service, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Immigration Service among others are all paid through the Accountant General.

From every indication, the number of employees in Ghana’s public sector paid through the Accountant General is quite huge. There are therefore bound to be challenges as far as managing the payroll is concerned. Attempts by the GAGD to decentralize the payroll at the headquarters of the various ministries, departments and agencies in Accra by networking these MDAs to take charge of certain payroll related issues has not been able to solve all the challenges due to the volume of work at the headquarters of the various MDAs.

Almost every salary related issue such as inputting of new entrants on to the payroll, promotions, upgrading, re-activations, re-instatements, posting and transfer of staff from one management unit to the another, change of bank details, insertion of SSNIT number on payslip, insertion and correction of wrong bank account numbers, deletion of names of deceased staff from the payroll, correction of wrongly spelt names among others are all handled at the headquarters of the various MDAs in Accra.

This has resulted in the delay of processing salaries for most employees with the Ghana Education Service and The Ghana Health Service employees being the most affected. There are instances where teachers on transfer from one school to another have ensured that the necessary input forms are prepared and sent to GES headquarters in Accra for the transfers to be effected. These inputs will lie there for months and years unattended to, only for these poor teachers' salary to be blocked for their failure to transfer their names to their present schools.

Some employees of MDAs in their attempt to change their banks to new banks of their choice have resulted in their former banks paying their salaries to government chest because these employees have closed their accounts with their former banks. This is because input forms and all necessary documentations have been prepared and sent to Accra for the necessary changes to be effected only for these inputs to lie there for months without any action taken on them. It will be a miracle for an employee whose salary has been paid to chest to get a refund of his/her salary. At times members of parliament have to intervene before such affected employees get salary refunds. As a result of this even though services rendered by some banks are poor, the Ghanaian worker is forced to continue dealing with such banks because any attempt to change a bank will lead to several more problems. Some banks are aware of this and therefore they treat workers with disrespect.

More so there are quite a number of employees on government payroll who use local names. Wrong spelling of these names change their meaning. When such affected employees write for the necessary corrections to be made, they are asked to go and obtain affidavits from the law court as if they were asking for a change of name. Meanwhile a look at their appointment letters and certificates when compared with their names on their payslips show that their names were entered wrongly at the personnel processing sections in Accra. If the payroll is decentralized, all these anomalies will be curbed if not eliminated completely because at the regional level, the people know how to spell their local names correctly. There are instances where peoples' names have been turned the other way. Using three former Finance Ministers as examples, one cannot call Dr. Kwabena Duffour as Dr. Duffour Kwabena or Mr. Osafo Maafo as Mr. Maafo Osafo, or Mr. Kwodwo Baah-Wiredu as Mr. Wiredu Baah-Kwodwo, this will completely change their meaning but on some employees payslips this is what they see. There are also errors on employees payslips with reference to the regions and districts contained in them. One can see on an employee's payslip thus: Region: Upper West, District: Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Management Unit: 0101: Accra Academy SHS. What this means is that the one keying in this employees data on to the payroll doesn’t know that Accra Metropolitan Assembly is not in the Upper West Region. Now because Accra Academy SHS is not in the Upper West region, this employee in Accra Academy SHS will never get his payslip as the payslip will find its way to the Upper west region. The end result will be that if an unscrupulous person lays hands on three of this unfortunate employees payslip, he takes them to a third party company to pick a loan only for this poor employee at Accra Academy SHS to suffer deductions on his salary through no fault of his.

As a result of the failure of the headquarters of the various MDAs to work on these simple salary related challenges on time, teachers and nurses have vacated their post just to travel to Accra to see to it that these simple things are done.

Why should a teacher or a nurse travel all the way from Hamile or Nandom in the Upper West region, Bawku in the Upper East region or Bunkpurugu in the Northern region to Accra just to have his or her name which was wrongly keyed on the payroll corrected. Others travel to Accra to have their management units, change of bank, insertion of SSNIT number effected for them. Most employees would never have travelled to Accra but for the salary related frustrations and nightmares they go through. One can therefore say that the headquarters of the various MDAs are a contributory factor to the congestion in Accra because workers from all over the country travel to Accra just to have their salary problems solved at the expense of productivity.

 There are a lot of instances where you see about one hundred teachers on the payroll of a village school where the whole village has a population of less than one thousand people. One may think that the payroll of such a school is bloated or that some of the names may be ghost names. The reason is that majority of the teachers have been transferred to others schools but their names are still at their former schools. The same applies to almost all the MDAs nationwide.

Thus any attempt by government to conduct a headcount of employees on the payroll will not yield the desired results because the payroll data on where an employee can exactly be located is not accurate. This is the more reason why government continues to pay ghost workers on the payroll. As long as the government payroll remains centralized, ghost names will continue to exist. Some departmental heads and their Accountants/IPPD coordinators are taking advantage of the centralized nature of the payroll to play all kinds of tricks on the system and for now things are going in their favour. The fact remains that the headquarters of the various MDAs seemed not to have the capacity in terms of staff strength and office space to handle the load coming from all the districts of Ghana.

One can imagine how the over three hundred thousand GES staff nationwide will have their salary related issues sent to one office in Accra to handle. The same applies to the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Head of Civil Service.

As if this is not enough, most of the headquarters MDAs in Accra will not call their districts offices around the country if there are queries to be answered on salary inputs sent to them (MDDs) in Accra. Thus if one hundred teachers are recruited in a district of Ghana, input forms are prepared and sent to Accra either by the departmental accountant or IPPD coordinator in the case of GES. The accountants or coordinators return to their various districts whilst waiting on Accra to input the salaries of these newly recruited staff. In the course of validating these input forms, errors may be found on some of them which eventually lead to queries waiting for the director or departmental accountant to answer.

Due to inadequate budget allocations, most directors and accountants hardly travel to Accra. Some travel to Accra twice a year. As a result, scarcely do they follow up to check on inputs already sent to Accra. What this means is that if the query remains unanswered for ten months, the input will continue to lie in Accra until the officer travels down one day only to realize that his/her salary inputs have been queried. All this while the newly recruited staff is at post and working and will have to be paid salary arrears for all the months he/she has worked.

The more reason why government is paying huge sums of money as salary arrears to new entrants and promotions is simply because of the unnecessary delays in Accra.

I am one person who totally disagrees with the view by the Minister of Finance that salary arrears should not be paid beyond three (3) months. People have been given appointment letters, they have worked for all the days and months their appointment took effect. Some go to borrow from friends and relatives with the hope that they will be paid back when their accumulated salary arrears are paid them.

Why should a poor teacher, nurse or civil servant pay the price for some ones inefficiency in Accra. Why?

I expected the honourable finance minister to have convened a stakeholder meeting to consult on the best ways to manage the payroll and how best salary related inputs can be fast tracked with an agreed number of mandatory months for a new employee’s name to enter the payroll. The present system where it takes new employees and those on promotion seven months to three years to get their salary is unacceptable in this era of information communication technology (ICT).

As long as we continue to do things as was done in the colonial era, salary arrears will continue to pile and government is duty bound to pay. If one works for two years without salary, one will have to be paid all the two years' salary. Anything short of that will be unfair. As a country we should be looking at innovative ways of doing things. It is only through innovation that as a nation we can say we are making progress. Through innovation one can differentiate between the past and the present.

Another case in point that will justify a decentralized payroll in the regional capitals is the issue of third party companies. Due to the low levels of salaries of Ghana’s public sector workers, almost every public sector worker has fallen on a third party company to pick a loan or an item with deductions to be made from ones salary every month for a stated number of months.

However some of the third party companies are dubious as they over deduct salaries of affected employees beyond the agreed period. Such affected employees have written letters upon letters with supporting documents asking that such dubious deductions be stopped to no avail.

Again some unscrupulous persons who are able to lay hands on innocent employees payslips use them to secure loans and other household consumables only for these innocent employees to suffer unjustified deductions on their salaries. Even though the third party companies require photoghaphs of their clients, an affected employee will have to travel to the controller and accountant general headquarters in Accra to prove that he/she has not entered in any agreement with a third party company to warrant any deductions. Assuming an affected employee has never travelled to Accra, and may be an illiterate, what language is this poor employee going to use to communicate in order to be directed to the Accountant General headquarters. Who in Accountant General headquarters will assist this innocent employee to locate the offices of this dubious company since Accra is a very big place.

However if inputting of third party company deductions are done in the regional offices of the C&AGD, such dubious deductions will be eliminated completely as the C&AGD regional offices can contact such staff through their heads of departments to verify the genuineness of such inputs. Again if a company is over deducting, an affected employee can easily move to the regional offices of the C&AGD from any district in the region where he/she works with documents to support their claim than travelling to Accra.

There are thousands of public sector employees out there suffering these illegal/unjustified deductions on their meager salaries. All they do is to keep cursing these dubious third party companies whiles the deductions continue.

It is like if you want to be rich in Ghana overnight, form a third party company, register with the Accountant Generals Department, now dupe innocent workers through over deductions/illegal deductions and in no time your name or company name will be a household name in Ghana. It is the centralized nature of the payroll that is encouraging this cancer of dubious third party companies. This is not to say there are no genuine third party companies in Ghana dealing with the Accountant General.

It must be stated that knowledge is not the preserve of any one person irrespective of one’s political, economic, social or academic standing. There are a lot more people out there who have a lot of brilliant ideas which can be used to move Ghana forward. Unfortunately most of such people don’t have a voice. Top level management takes decisions without seeking the views of their subordinates, the people who are actually on the ground doing the work.


There is the need for government to take a bold step by decentralizing the payroll. This can be done by networking all the ten (10) regional directorates of the Controller & Accountant General Department to the payroll machine at their head office in Accra. For a start, salary related issues such as change of management unit, change of bank details, insertion of SSNIT and bank account numbers, correction of wrongly spelt names, third party deductions, deletions, correction of wrong management unit details on payslips should be handled at the various regional directorates of the C&AGD. The headquarters of the various MDAs can now concentrate on new entrants, promotions, re-activations and re-engagements. This will greatly reduce the load at the headquarters of the MDAs.

It is much easier for an employee to move from any district in the region where he/she works to his/her regional capital to make an enquiry than to travel to Accra.

Again some of the employees at the headquarters of the various MDAs in Accra who validate input forms are far lower in rank compared to the Regional directors of the C&AGD. For instance, if an accounts officer or even an accountant at C&AGD headquarters is in charge of validating input forms, why can’t the regional director who is a chief accountant and above do same or delegate a senior officer in the regional directorates to do same.

There is no difference between a controller and accountant general staff at the headquarters and those in the regions. Infact some of the C&AGD staff in the regions are far more experienced than some of those at the headquarters.

Again it is much easier to investigate the issue of ghost names at the regional level than at the national level because at the regional level people know each other and the numbers can easily be managed and investigated compared to  the national. The ministry of finance will have to make the necessary logistics available to the regional directorates of the C&AGD purposely for payroll monitoring. The regional monitoring teams can visit schools and workplaces unannounced to check on the attendance books to verify if new entrants on the payroll were actually at post for the period that their salaries were outstanding.

It is also a known fact that some banks trade with unclaimed salaries and pensions for several months and having made profit from these monies, they pay same unclaimed salaries and pensions to government chest without adding a pesewa. Even though C&AGD staff in the regions are aware of this, desk officers in charge of salaries can’t do much because they are handicapped as no logistics are provided to enable them track such monies.

Employees who are deceased, those who have resigned and those who have vacated post still have their names on the payroll because deletion input forms have been prepared and forwarded to Accra where no action is taken. If the payroll is decentralized it won’t take more than a day to delete such names from the payroll. This will save government huge sums of money which can be used to tackle other developmental challenges.

I challenge his Excellency the president and the hon. minister of finance to implement this suggestion. Not only will the Ghanaian public sector employee remember the government as the regime that brought the payroll to their doorstep but the issue of some salary related challenges will be curbed if not eliminated completely.

I wish and hope the powers that be are listening.



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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.