The Gombe State Government has approved the sum of N1.499 billion for the supply and installation of a biometric attendance system to check payroll fraud in the state’s civil service.
Mr Muhammad Magaji, the state’s Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, stated this, on Wednesday, while addressing newsmen after the 12th State’s Executive Council meeting.
Magaji said the initiative tagged “Gombe state Integrated Payroll Payment Gateway and Human Resource Management Information System’’ would help to reduce, if not eliminate, payroll fraud.
According to him, when installed, the system would increase transparency in the payment of salaries and pensions, as well as effectively manage the state’s human resource capacities at both state and local government levels.
He stated that the initiative was necessitated by the discovery by the state government that there were workers on payrolls who do not come to work but turn up for payment verification.
According to him, a pilot exercise carried out in the state revealed that about 600 pensioners did not turn up for verification, “and if you take the average payment, that’s a savings of about N80million.’’
He added that a similar exercise was conducted for Gombe local governments and the exercise revealed a savings of about N23million from staff that do not turn up for work.
“This system is to checkmate these excesses, to ensure that when you come to work it will verify your facial description through facial capturing and that will authenticate your attendance while also taking your fingerprints.’’
“So the system identifies those who do not come to work and the report in the database that is stored in the cloud will be presented for use at the end of the month,’’ he said.
The finance commissioner explained that it was no longer sustainable for the state to continue to spend between 80 and 90 per cent of its internally-generated revenue and federal allocation on payment of salaries and pensions.
“If we continue to pay that, it means that only 10 to 15 per cent is left for provision of other services for other people in the state, so, the system is to save more money.’’
While assuring genuine workers who contribute to productivity in the state that they had nothing to worry about, he stressed that the state needed to stop salaries of those who do not work but earn salaries.
Magaji also assured that measures were being taken to ensure that the system was not manipulated, “the consultants would be in charge of the machines and will do the supervision because of fear of connivance.’’