The implementation of the e-zwich payment system last year by the Ghana National Service Scheme has saved the country GH¢146million as the system was able to flush out over 35,000 ghost names from its payroll.
This was disclosed in an interview with Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Service Scheme.
According to Dr. Kpessa-Whyte, there were too many human interferences in the system which contributed to the rot that happened at the Secretariat some years back.
"Prior to my going there as the national service boss, the scheme was paying Service Personnel manually. Cheques were signed from the national office to the regional office, and from the Regional office to the District office and the District Directors had various ways of paying the Service Personnel. So there were a lot of human interferences in the payment process. And those human interferences contributed to delay in payment of allowances and to the corruption scandal that occurred before I went there.
"So the idea is to shift all the payments to a platform that eliminates all human interferences and make sure that personnel are paid directly from our accounts. What we have now observed since the institution of this system is that personnel payroll has reduced significantly," he said.
"The year before the e-zwich system was instituted, the scheme was paying averagely 75,000 Service Personnel every month. As we speak, we are currently paying about 40,000 personnel every month, which means we have flushed out 35,000 ghost names from our system. That has saved the scheme and the government over GH¢146million yearly since we spent GH¢12.2milion monthly on the 35,000 non-existing personnel," he added.
He further urged all state institutions responsible for disbursing funds to migrate to the e-zwich system in order to save the country a lot of money paid illegitimately.
National Service is currently the largest user of the e-zwich payment system. The decision to move electronic became urgent and necessary when the biggest corruption scandal hit the scheme which led to the implication of some top officials, including the former boss, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan.
It is understood that the Controller and Accountant Generals Department (CAGD) is closely monitoring the execution of a payment pact between the GhIPSS and the NSS, which could pave the way for salaries and wages of all public and civil servants to be paid through the e-zwich system as government continues to search for an effective and efficient way to eliminate ´ghost-names´ from the public payroll.
As a smart-card payment system, the e-zwich is managed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System as an innovative method for improving accessibility to banking and retail services in Ghana.