South Sudan’s Council of Ministers on Wednesday approved the electronic payment for civil servants’ salaries to weed out ghost names.
Addressing journalists after the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the move aims to weed out civil servants who work in different places and get paid by the government.
“It is another way of fighting duplication of names and payment of people who could be working in different places and getting paid from all over,” Makuei said
He added that the establishment of the system will be funded by the World Bank, which will employ a payroll coordinator, and the government will pay annual maintenance fees.
“It is the World Bank that will be funding it, and it will be funding a payroll coordinator. A payroll coordinator will be appointed, and it is the World Bank that will pay him. What is required from us is to pay a sum of 100,000 dollars annually for maintenance of the systems,” Makuei disclosed.
Reacting to the news, Morris Madut Kon, head of the department of the School of Economics and Social Studies at the University of Juba, welcomed the move, saying the computerization of the government payroll has been long overdue.
“It is easier to weed out ghost workers if there is a system in place, so it is long overdue. This is something which should have been done long ago. It is one of the Public Financial Management (PFM) reform priorities. There are eleven priorities of PFM now that are provided for under the peace agreement, and one of those priorities is to make sure that the payment system is computerized, so it has been a pending issue,” Madut said.
Meanwhile, Edmund Yakani, Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), called on the government to invest in the banking infrastructure for the computerized system of payroll to succeed.
“The government has to invest in the infrastructures that can reach up to the local government institutions because if there is any unclassified staff of a county, how will that particular civil servant get the payment through the electronic system where there is no banking system” he questioned.
He stressed that South Sudan is one of the lowest countries ranked in access to the internet in Africa, and so one of the biggest challenges the government is going to face will be having the human resource who can manage the system at the local government level.