Wednesday, May 29, 2024

DBM: Digitization of gov’t payroll system now underway

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Florencio Abad said the government is moving to reform the existing payroll system of the entire bureaucracy with the implementation of the National Payroll System (NPS).

?As a fully automated and digitized system, the NPS will play a central role in ensuring greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the government?s human resource processes,? Abad said.

?And because the system will be completely electronic, all payroll-related activities will be implemented more quickly and with better accuracy, whether we?re talking about the distribution of monthly salaries due to government workers, or the regular monthly remittances that are made out to our employees? social security and health insurance accounts,? he said.

The administration?s Public Financial Management (PFM) Committee ? of which the Department of Budget and Management is a member ? has been tasked to develop the centralizing software for the NPS, which will be pilot-tested in select agencies at the end of the year.

The NPS is also a component of the larger Government Human Resource Information System (GHRIS), which will harmonize and unify all human resource management operations in government, from the recruitment phase all the way to retirement. Completion of the GHRIS is expected in the second quarter of 2014.

?We want to make it clear, however, that the DBM will not exert control over the personnel requirements of agencies. Together with the other members of the PFM Committee, we are only developing the software that will make payroll reform possible in the bureaucracy,? Abad added.

Under the reformed and digitized payroll system, agencies will continue to have discretion over their respective human resource and personnel requirements.

This will be expressed in a Monthly Cash Plan relating to Personnel Services that will be submitted to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr), which will in turn provide a payment file to the proper bank for the timely processing of employee salaries.

According to the DBM, agencies will be asked to establish Automated Teller Machine (ATM) payroll accounts for all their employees to allow for the electronic distribution of monthly salaries.

Government servicing banks ? such as Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) ? will be prioritized, although other banks may also be proposed should Landbank or DBP ATMs be unavailable for use in a particular area.

Apart from facilitating the prompt release of salaries and benefits to government workers, the NPS will also ensure the timely remittance of withholding fees to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-ibig Fund, and PhilHealth.

?Switching to electronic means for the management of payroll processes is hardly a new concept. It?s par for the course in the private sector, where companies are able to generate significant cost savings by abolishing check payments and the manual processing of monthly salaries and withholding fees. Similarly, the NPS will relieve the government?s human resource units from the burden of handling cash and manually keeping track of all payroll activities,? Abad said.

?It is, very simply, a matter of government finally keeping up with the times, where we do away with an outdated and grossly inefficient approach to personnel compensation in favor of an electronic payroll system that makes every transaction quick, verifiable, and transparent,? he added.

Abad also noted that the NPS will be a valuable instrument in eliminating ghost employees and preventing other payroll-related irregularities in the bureaucracy.

?To qualify for an ATM payroll account, you must apply for it in person with proper identification and the necessary endorsement from your mother agency. An agency?s payroll database should also agree with the bank?s own records. In other words, ghost employees won?t stand a chance under such strict standards. We?re making it much harder ? if not impossible ? for unscrupulous individuals to corrupt the government?s payroll system to their advantage.

?Best of all, the NPS will make it possible for all government employees to get their pay right on time, with all their remittances automatically made for them and their proper taxes withheld. This can only be wonderful news for our public servants, who will be efficiently compensated for their work, and for the public, to whom we can assure that every peso is being spent exactly as it should be,? Abad said. — PIA

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