Biometric HR system launched for Afghan civil servants

By on 24/02/2019 | Updated on 04/02/2022
Watching you: new Afghan system aims to attack payroll fraud (Image courtesy: geralt/Pixabay).

Afghanistan’s Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) has developed a new biometric system which will register the data of all civil servants within the next year.

The Human Resources Information Management System (HRIMS) was launched last week, and will record the fingerprints, retinal ID and photos of the estimated 424,000 civil service employees in the country.

This biometric data will be linked to further information, including name, nickname, father and grandfather’s name, ID card number, gender, date and place of birth, address, email address, phone number, education level, education field and job description.

Ghost chasing

As well as improving HR planning the new system will tackle corruption by adding key data fields to their bank cards. The cards will then be synced with the internal payment system at the Ministry of Finance, in a bid to ensure that only eligible, registered workers receive salaries.

A 2018 report by the US Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, highlighted the existence of “ghost workers” in Afghanistan’s civil service. Corrupt local officials were found to be creating fake public sector workers in order to siphon off public money.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail following the publication of his report, Sopko said: “We are talking millions if not billions of dollars that may have been diverted to ghosts.”

First in line

IARCSC chairman and commissioner Ahmad Nader Nadery was the first person to register his details. Nadery said the new system is a “significant advancement for Afghanistan”, and will be rolled out to the Ministry of Education and other government departments after it is fully implemented in the IARCSC. In a statement to Tolo News, he said: “In order to properly plan staffing and human resources in the country, it was necessary that we, using more comprehensive systems more efficiently and using today’s technology, can accelerate the process of economic and social development of the country, and thereby enable the sustainability of various fields of information in Afghanistan.”

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

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