The government of Zimbabwe is using biometric technology to purge ghost workers from its payroll. The country’s Public Service Commission (PSC) worked with the World Bank to register the biometric data of its entire public workforce, and then matched those biometric records with the payroll records in the Registrar’s Office.
As New Zimbabwe reports, doing so revealed the existence of roughly 10,000 people on payroll without a corresponding real-world counterpart in the new database. The government has since stopped paying the salaries of any employees whose identities cannot be verified biometrically.
“Ghost workers are no longer an issue,” said PSC Human Capital Development and Management Head Moses Mhike. “We conducted a biometric exercise to get the data of all civil servants and comparing with the Registrar’s Office. We realised that about 10,000 were not biometric compliant and traced them at each and every work station.”
“We made sure that we stopped paying those non-compliant and only the legitimate ones came forward,” added PSC secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe. Both Mhike and Wutawunashe indicated that the record purge would be an ongoing process, so employees who have not yet registered can still come forward to submit their data and restore their payroll status.
The government has not made any arrests in relation to a ghost worker scheme. The initiative was instead part of a broader effort to update the country’s civic infrastructure.
A senior economist with the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe previously pushed the government to adopt a biometric payroll system back in 2016. The United Nations Development Programme would later provide funding for the country’s biometric voter registration program, while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would select Ipsidy to lead its de-duplication efforts and adjudicate its voter rolls ahead of a national election in 2018.
Source: New Zimbabwe
December 21, 2020 – by Eric Weiss