The Government of the Republic of Zambia recently conducted a Human Resources Head Count and Payroll Verification Exercise for Public Service Employees operating on the Copperbelt Province following the issuance of the Cabinet Office Circular No 13 of 2019 by the Secretary to the Cabinet.
The Human Resources Head Count and Payroll Verification Exercise was conducted through a reconciliation of the September 2019 Payroll Data; Staff Returns; and Data Captured by the Team through a Physical Roll Call on all Employees.
I take this opportunity ON BEHALF OF THE SECRETARY TO THE CABINET to update the nation that a total of Seven hundred and seventy-nine (779) Employees were found to be inappropriately drawing Government salaries amounting to ZMK 54,236,853.24 per Annum. These employees have been either terminated from the Payroll or moved to the Separatees Payroll managed by the Ministry of Finance. These 779 employees are classified as being Unknown; Resigned; Deceased; Dismissed; Retired; Deserters and/or proceeded on Unpaid Leave but still receiving a monthly salary.
In view of the findings of the exercise, the action(s) that have been taken as at 10th November, 2019 are as follows:
- Salaries and wages for a total of Five hundred and forty-eight (548) Employees who remained Unknown during the exercise have been withheld and the Government is likely to save ZMK 39,813,426.24 per annum as a result of this action taken;
- Nineteen (19) officers who Resigned and where still drawing a salary as at 30th September, 2019 have had their salaries and wages terminated and this action will result in a saving of ZMK 1,774,321.44 per annum;
- Seventy-one (71) Employees who had been declared Deceased and still appeared on the Payroll as at 30th September, 2019 drawing Salaries and Wages totaling ZMK1,559,540.44 annually; have been Retired Posthumously and Migrated to the Separatees Payroll maintained at the Ministry of Finance;
- Three (3) Employees that had been confirmed Dismissed and continued to draw Salaries and Wages amounting to ZMK 218,595.00 annually have since been terminated from the Payroll after verifying with their respective Service Commissions;
- Twelve (12) employees had proceeded on Unpaid Leave but still continued to draw their respective salaries amounting to zmk1, 254,739.80 per year have also been removed from payroll;
- All eight (8) officers who had been declared Retired and continued to draw Salaries and Wages amounting to ZMK 698,972.16 annually have been migrated to the Separatees Payroll and will further not be entitled to Housing and Transport Allowances;
- One Hundred and eighteen (118) Employees who had since Deserted their Duty Stations as at 30th September, 2019 after filling in their respective Arrival Advice Forms and drew salaries in excess of ZMK 8,927,258.16 annually have had their Salaries and Wages withheld pending disciplinary processes to be concluded.
MISPLACED OFFICERS IN THE PROVINCE
- The exercise further established that Seven thousand, three hundred and two (7,302) Employees were not serving at their respective duty stations with regard to their designated Payroll Area drawing salaries and wages amounting to ZMK47,637,753.93. Of these 7,302 misplaced employees; six thousand, four hundred and fourteen (6,414) employees were found to be misplaced within the Copperbelt Province while the other eight hundred and eighty-six (886) employees were likely to be on Payrolls of other Provinces;
- The Ministry of Education had the highest number at three thousand, seven hundred and one (3,701) while the Ministry of Health had two thousand three hundred and eleven (2,311) drawing respective salaries and wages amounting to ZMK 29,845,912.76 and ZMK 17,943,739.19;
- Four hundred and thirty (430) Employees illegally accessed Rural Hardship Allowance amounting to ZMK 5,087,645.88 per annum, while One hundred and two (102) Employees illegally received Remote Hardship allowance amounting to ZMK 1,433,105.76 per annum.
UNACCOUNTED FOR EMPLOYEES
- A total of 3,969 employees appearing on the September, 2019 Payroll could not be found during the Head Count and have had their salaries and wages amounting to ZMK 312,242,757.50 annually blocked. These employees are on the Copperbelt Payroll but were not found during the head count. The true position on these 3,969 unaccounted for employees will be reconciled as the verification exercise progresses to other Provinces.
ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT
In view of the above findings, the Secretary to the Cabinet has taken the following administrative sanctions as at 10th November, 2019:
- Government has suspended all Payroll Inputs for the Month of November, 2019 Countrywide;
- Government has further blocked all Salaries for the three thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine (3,969) employees that were not accounted for during the Head Count and Verification Exercise on the Copperbelt ;
- Government has suspended and revoked log-in credentials for all Payroll End Users Countrywide who input Payroll Data monthly into the Payroll Management and Establishment and Control (PMEC) System;
- Those found to have breached Government Regulations in the process of Payroll Management at various levels will be handed over to appropriate Law Enforcement Agencies for prosecution;
- Permanent Secretaries and Controlling Officers will be required to play a significant role in the management of their Individual Institutional Payrolls;
- Government will during the month of November, 2019 appoint new Payroll End–users and further subject them to a rigorous process of vetting and training;
- All those employees whose salaries or wages have been blocked will be communicated to electronically to their last known addresses;
- To avoid future recurrence of this mischief, the Government will implement reforms that will strengthen Payroll Management and oversight
A Special Purpose Team has since been constituted to consider all matters from those who are affected on the Copperbelt by the above highlighted measures on a Case by Case basis. The Special Purpose Team will commence their sitting from 13th to 28th November, 2019 at the Ndola Provincial Office. I urge those that are affected to quickly rectify their status with their head of departments who will submit the same to the team that has formed to look at their case.
I wish to reiterate that Government shall be fair, impartial and follow the laid down procedure of the law relating to employees in resolving these payroll related matters.
I thank you
Dr. Martine G. Mtonga
Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet
SMART Zambia Institute