The Ugandan government is to introduce biometric gadgets for the implementation of daily salary payment for civil servants.
The gadgets are to be introduced following the resolve of the government to start paying civil servants according to the number of days worked rather than a guaranteed monthly salary.
Prof. Ezra Suruma, the head of the Delivery Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), said they are for a start installing the gadgets at public health and educational institutions to monitor clock-in, clock-out of health workers and teachers at their duty stations.
Suruma said salaries of absentee civil servants will be deducted equivalent to work days missed, he said.
“Last week, we were in Jinja for a meeting with district local governments and we were told that some districts no longer pay civil servants who absent themselves from work.
“We want other districts to follow suit because this is kisanja hakuna mchezo (no playing games),” he said.
Kaliro, Kayunga, Buvuma, Bulambuli, Bugiri and Bududa districts —all in eastern Uganda— are already implementing the scheme.
Prof Suruma, the former finance minister and current Makerere University chancellor, made the comments while receiving an assortment of biometric machines donated by the British government through its overseas development arm, the Department for International Development (DFID).
The gadgets will be installed at public facilities in 22 districts in eastern Uganda piloting the scheme and the supervisors will be required to file daily reports of their supervisees’ attendance to OPM.
Bureaucrats say the previous practice of registering staff presence at work manually was ineffective and susceptible to errors.
Suruma said citizens dissatisfied with delivery of government services had started reporting absentee employees directly to authorities using social media platforms, particularly WhatsApp.
“This has increased the level of community engagement in ensuring service delivery,” Suruma said.
Mr Adrian Green, the head of Growth and Economic Management at DFID, said the equipment they donated also included laptops, printers, computers and their accessories.
They will be deployed for gathering, processing and analysing biometric information on teachers and health workers to improve the quality of service delivery at schools and hospitals.
“This is a grant worth half a million British pounds for a partnership we have been implementing with government for essential service delivery since 2015 where we have registered tremendous results,” Mr Green said.
A biometric time and attendance system is a time clock that tracks some unique physical characteristic of each employee when they clock in or out.
Biometric data comes in many forms, such as vascular patterns, fingerprints, iris patterns and voice recognition. Biometrics cannot be forged.