Governor Rotimi Amaechi
Rivers State Government has taken over the administration of its payroll from Zenith Bank.
The takeover was completed at the official opening of the new payroll office at the state ministry of Finance in Port Harcourt, Friday.
Inaugurating the office, the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Chamberlain Peterside, said the new payroll regime would address the issue of ghost workers which has now culminated into ghost salaries.
He said pay slips would now be given out to workers as the new payroll software has the capability of generating pay slips automatically and could as well be sent as electronic mail.
He also explained that salaries would still be paid through the banks, but administered directly from the payroll office.
“We are not transiting into paying salary in cash, we are not going back to the old way of carrying of boxes and Ghana must go bags around, we have only stepped up to a higher level in the spirit of cashless economy, paying salary through the banks, but running the payroll. The migration process is today completed. ”
“Two things are important to the governor, one is results, the other is building the institutions we have in Rivers State, that he would be able to leave behind functioning,” he added.
In his remark, the Accountant General of the state, Ngozi Abu, thanked Peterside for his resilience in fast tracking the takeover process, stating that Zenith Bank had requested the government to take over the payroll since January 2011, but the state was unable to do that.
He also noted that with the new payroll system in place, complains can be genuine and addressed with proof. “When there are pay slips, overpayments and underpayments can be checked.”
He thanked the Amaechi administration for the support in achieving this feat.
“I believe that what he has started through this Commissioner will be a permanent feature in this ministry and those of us who are here would ensure that it is sustained.”
“Payroll administration is a collective responsibility, we cannot control what is far away from us, we can only control what is in-house. Today, that control is drawing nearer and nearer. We should be able today to know when an input was made to crosscheck whether that thing that was sent in is correct… we believe we have the capacity and the commissioner has demonstrated that capacity by ensuring that human capital is being built up,” Abu said.
Also, the Special Adviser to the governor on ICT, Mr. Godliffe Nmekini commended the synergy with the finance ministry. He also thanked Zenith bank for its gestures towards the state.
The Zenith Bank representative, Mr. Patrick Okewu lauded the state government for taking the bold step and assured of the bank’s continued support to ensure that the process is sustained.
“Today is a happy day for us, because for some years now, we’ve been wishing for this day. It’s not because we don’t like what we are doing, but because this is not clearly our core area. We know we have the capacity to deploy this kind of resources, but again, our core area is banking…whatever support that the state needs from us going forward in any area towards ensuring that the progress achieved is sustained, the bank is saying, we stand by you. To most states, what you are doing now is impossible…”
He added that payroll management is not something that should be taken for granted and lauded the state for giving it all the seriousness it deserves.
Speaking to newsmen after the opening, Representative of the NLC in the State and Chairman of the Joint Public Negotiating Council, Comrade Emecheta Chukwu also commended the State government for achieving the new payroll system and advised that there be no irregularities in the process.
Highlights of the commissioning included a demonstration of the payroll system using the new software application. This showed among other things that different salary structures could be setup, templates for events such as bonuses could be inputted with a start and stop date, and such bonuses could be set as taxable or non-taxable; pay slip generation could be singular or for all workers in a particular structure or MDA and can be emailed directly from the application as all workers have been assigned a unique number in the payroll.
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