Gombe State government has approved the total sum of N1.499 billion for the procurement and installation of biometric equipment for Gombe State Integrated Payroll, Payment Gateway and Human Resource Management Information System in the state.
Muhammad Gambo Magaji, the state’s commissioner of finance and economic development, disclosed this after the state executive council meeting presided over by the state governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in Gombe on Wednesday.
According to a statement by Ismaila Uba Misilli, the governor’s spokesman, the system would help reduce or eliminate payroll fraud, increase transparency in the payment of salaries and pensions to deserving pensioners and help manage the human resources in the state and local governments systems of the state.
Magaji said the sum approved would include the supply of the biometric machines, their installation and a five years warranty for maintainance of those equipments as well as to ensure they work adequately for the purpose for which they were procured.
‘What we have discovered is that we have so many who are on the payroll but don’t come to work. So, if you do a verification exercise, you find out that everybody comes for the verification exercise. But after the verification, you find out that very few or a certain percentage of workers do not come to work. So, this means that they are only around for verification but do not attend work,’ the commissioner said.
Magaji added that the system have features that would check excesses of civil service, by identifying and authenticating one’s physical features and enhance regular attendance of office.
‘It means that, if you don’t come to work, the system automatically identifies that you have not come to work and it will record in the database that is saved in the cloud. And that is assessed by the consultants and the report is presented for use at the end of every month to ensure that people who turn up for work are paid and those who don’t, naturally are not workers,’ he explained.
He noted that a pilot exercise was conducted for pensioners and it was discovered that about 700 pensioners did not turn up, thereby saving the state about N80 million and that a similar pilot test was conducted for Gombe local government and N23 million was saved from staffs who did not turn up for work.
‘It’s a double-edged sword. We are all aware that spent about 80% to 90% of our earnings for both the state IGR and the Federal Government Statutory Allocation in the payment of salaries and pensions to our staff. And you know people who have retired. And if we continue to pay that huge amount of money, it means that only 10 to 15% is left for other services to be provided for the other people in Gombe State,’ Magaji further explained.
The also said it was necessary to clean up the civil service, by not paying people who do not come to work but earn salaries.
According to him, the system will enable the state government to save more money for other services, as well as give room for others to be gainfully employed into the service, especially the teeming youths in the state.
Similarly, the council has approved over N600million for the renovation and remodelling of Bajoga General hospital in Funakaye local government area of the state.
According to the council, it was the intention of the administration of the current government to reposition the health sector for better and effective service delivery to the people.
Equally, the council has deliberated and condemned in strong terms the communal clash between the Waja and Lunguda tribes of Balanga local government area in which the governor has visited the affected communities and taken measures to forestall further escalation of violence.