Africa: Computer Fails To 'Pay As You Earn' : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Computer Fails To 'Pay As You Earn' The Namibian (Windhoek) March 1, 2000 By Tangeni Amupadhi

Windhoek - Some civil servants went without pay for February, others received only a portion of their salaries while all are without pay slips due to a computer glitch in Government's pay system.

Sources within the Ministry of Finance said the computer that processes the cheques paid some civil servants salaries as little as 80 cents, while others were in line for multiple salaries of N$20 000.

The Namibian yesterday spoke to Government workers, who were frustrated when their bank accounts showed they had not been paid.

In one instance two colleagues, whose net salaries are more than N$2 000 each, found that only N$500 and N$600 had been deposited in their accounts.

The women said their Ministry's personnel office had no explanation and referred them to the Ministry of Finance, which prints the cheques. The two women are still in the dark about what happened to the rest of their monthly pay.

That something was amiss emerged last week when pay slips were not delivered to public servants a week before month-end as usual. People were told they would only receive their money next week March 6.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Usutuaije Maamberua, said he was unaware of people who had not received their pay.

However, Maamberua confirmed that pay slips had not been issued because of a delay in transferring the salary computer from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Finance, which has taken over the paymaster function.

Maamberua said pay slips could be issued to all public servants in two days.

A Y2K problem has been ruled out because the Finance Ministry's computers had been independently certified as up-to-date. However, the transfer of data from an old machine to new computers may have caused the glitch.

"It could be data problems," said Maamberua, "because the data on the old frame - an old computer of more than 20 years - had to be transported onto the new computer. So, it is possible that in the process some technical error could have occurred."

He said the Ministry will look into the issue, adding: "If it so happened that people have not received their proper salaries due to an error in calculations we have to tender our apologies in advance."

-- Martin Thompson (, March 04, 2000

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