Pilot For e-zwich Payment of Comptroller Staff Salaries Successful

Payment of some staff of Comptroller and Accountant General’s Department on to the e-zwich card has gone through successfully. This is was a pilot project that will eventually pave the way for public sector workers to receive their salaries through e-zwich. The pilot was done for May salaries and covered only IT and Payroll staff at the Head office. Moves to start paying public sector workers via their e-zwich cards has been a major part of the electronic payment system, as that will significantly increase the use of the biometric card and also reduce the use of cash in the economy. With the successful completion of the pilot, the payment of salaries on the e-zwich card will be extended to all staff of the Comptroller and Accountant General’s Department in Greater Accra Region in July, and subsequently to the regional offices over a period of time to ensure that all the staff is covered. After the completion of this exercise, a gradual roll-out to cover every public sector worker will begin. It is expected that, over time, every public sector worker will receive his or her salary on the e-zwich card. However, the workers are not obliged to put all their salaries on the e-card. At the point of enrolment, the option is provided for the worker to decide what percentage of his or her salary should go onto the e-zwich card. Since salaries disbursed through the e-zwich system will be received much faster, the worker has the liberty to put money for everyday use on the card and reserve the rest in the bank account for savings purposes or vice versa. The General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development, Archie Hesse, explained that the payment of salaries onto the biometric smart card will introduce a lot of efficiency in public sector wage management. He mentioned that the process of paying salaries will be shorter, with less paperwork. Probably the most important benefit, he added, is the fact that it will eliminate ghost-names from the public sector payroll. Mr. Hesse explained that since e-zwich cards use fingerprints whichare unique to each person, the system will weed out people who do not exist and cannot be identified by their fingerprints. He added that since each person has a unique fingerprint, the system will automatically take out names with the same fingerprints. Also, salaries paid on the cards can only be accessed after a finger is placed on the Point of Sales (POS) device or the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). “These detailed but easy-to-carry-out processes will clear out ghost-names,” Mr. Hesse stressed. Currently, GhIPSS and the Office of the Comptroller and Accountant General are working together to ensure the success of this major project. Banks in the country will be issuing the e-zwich cards to public sector workers who do not have one, through various enrolment programmes. Mr. Hesse encouraged shop owners to see their banks and acquire POSs because when the public sector workers begin to receive their salaries on e-zwich card, the use of the card will experience a boom and shops with the devices will be in good business. He said Ghana’s payment system is being modernised and soon cards will be the preferred mode of payment; and urged people to prepare for this revolution just as has happened to the telecommunication and other sectors of the economy.