Civil Service Reforms: Gombe Recruits Over 400 Personnel To Man Biometric Attendance Machines

 …As Governor Inuwa Yahaya Flags-off Induction Training for Supervisors

…”Biometric System Not Intended to Witch-Hunt Civil Servants” — NLC

Gombe State Government has recruited over 400 personnel Biometric Attendance Supervisors (BAS) to oversee the operation of over 4,000 Biometric Attendance Machines installed in various state and local government offices aimed at boosting productivity and efficiency in the State’s Civil Service.

This was disclosed by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya CON during the inauguration of a 1-day induction training for supervisors numbering 305 who were recently selected after a screening process.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya, represented by his deputy, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau, reiterated that the implementation of the biometric system in the civil service was essential to identify ghost workers who have long imposed a significant financial strain on both state and local governments.

“The issue of an uncertain number of employees at the local government council, state civil service and even the Federal Civil Service has bedevilled the governments and those in authority over the years.

In Gombe State attempts by previous governments to solve the riddle by way of verification year in and year out have not solved the problem. This is unacceptable, lamentable and a clear negation of transparency, integrity and even religious teachings”.

He emphasized that during his tenure, funds earmarked for addressing socio-economic challenges and citizen welfare would not be indiscriminately allocated to non-working individuals masquerading within the civil service.

“In 2019, upon assuming office, we initiated transformative policies to reform the civil service.

Recognizing the previous administration’s attempts to tackle the issue of an uncertain number of employees through annual verification exercises – which proved unsuccessful, we opted for a new approach.

Our goal is to identify ghost workers, facilitate employment opportunities for genuine workers, and improve overall productivity within the service.

My dear 305 Supervisors and the 115 others engaged, the deployment of these machines is equally part of our reform initiatives in the civil service”, the Governor said.

“We have no ill intentions on the implementation of this Biometric Attendance System. Our sole aim is to have a highly effective and efficient civil service in Gombe, one that fosters productivity and drives the development and prosperity outlined in our development plan.

As a direct outcome of this initiative, Gombe now receives foreign grants, which we utilize to reshape the socio-economic landscape of the state. Furthermore, the implementation of the biometric system has enabled us to engage over 400 individuals on our payroll as new employees”, the Governor added.

The Governor also noted that since the introduction of the biometric system in October 2021, Gombe has consistently saved over 23 million Naira monthly, totalling over 1.4 billion Naira.

He emphasized that these savings are part of what is being allocated towards settling the backlog of gratuity at both the state and local government levels. In his remarks, the Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, Malam Muhammad Gambo Magaji, explained that the implementation of the biometric system is an integral component of the financial management reforms initiated by the Inuwa-led administration, underscoring the importance of cleansing the state’s payroll.

He announced that as a direct result of implementing the biometric system, Gombe State has successfully obtained a $4 million grant from the World Bank’s SFTAS programme. He also highlighted that the introduction of the biometric system, along with other initiatives, has positioned Gombe State as the top-ranking state in Nigeria for Payroll Management.

In their separate remarks, the Head of Service, Alhaji Ahmed Kasimu Abdullah, the Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission, Hajia Rabi Shu’aibu Jimeta, mni, and the Accountant General of the State, Dr Aminu Umar Yuguda, emphasized the significance of the biometric system. They urged the newly recruited employees to approach their roles with dedication and sincerity, recognizing the sacredness of their responsibilities and the importance they have towards the success of the system.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Biometric Programme Consultant, Dr Isma’il Musa Jibrin, explained that the system is designed to promote fairness and accountability, guaranteeing that no worker is unfairly penalized as every diligent civil servant will continue to receive their monthly remuneration.

The representative of the Gombe State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adamu Garba, expressed gratitude to Governor Inuwa Yahaya for his commendable reforms in the civil service and the consistent payment of gratuity to retired civil servants at both state and local levels.

He affirmed that the implementation of the biometric attendance system in the state civil service is aimed at streamlining the service to enhance productivity and efficiency.

“Let me call on all the civil servants in the state to cooperate for the success of this exercise. The exercise is not meant to witch-hunt any worker. It is meant to sanitize the payroll of Gombe State and at the same time block leakages. It is based on the implementation of this system that these people are employed today. We appreciate the Governor for decreasing the number of unemployed persons in Gombe State through his various initiatives”, the NLC representative said.