The Federal Government announced on Sunday that it has been able to to eliminate 23,846 ghost workers from its payroll, thus saving about N2.293 billion monthly.
According to the Finance Minister, this was made possible through a recent ongoing BVN-based staff audit and enrollment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. The amount spent on payment of salaries to government workers reduced by N2.29bn in February when compared to what it was in the December 2015 audit carried out by the Federal Government.
The audit, which was part of the anti-corruption campaign by President Muhammadu Buhari, began in December 2015 and used biometric data and a bank verification number to identify holders of bank accounts into which salaries were being paid.
The statement read:
Through the ongoing BVN-based staff audit and enrolment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the Federal Government has removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll. Consequently, the salary bill for February 2016 has reduced by N2.293bn when compared to December 2015 at which time the BVN audit process commenced.
This process allowed the identification of some workers who were receiving a salary that did not correspond to the names linked to the bank accounts. It also revealed that some employees were receiving salaries from multiple sources.
The statement further stated that the exercise also reduced the number of pensioners by 19,203 as a result of deaths since the last verification exercise in 2012.
This figure represents a percentage of the number of non-existent workers who had hitherto been receiving the salary from various ministries, departments and agencies.This reduced the number of pensioners by 19,203 as a result of deaths since the last verification exercise in 2012.
It added that more investigation would be carried out to ensure no such “ghost workers” remain on the government’s payroll.
The government plans to undertake periodic checks and to utilize Computer Assisted Audit Techniques under its new Continuous Audit Programme. This will ensure that all payments are accurate and valid. Requirements for new entrants joining the Federal Civil Service have also been enhanced to prevent the introduction of fictitious employees in future.
Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy and the continent’s top oil producer, is recently facing financial hiccups due to recent collapse in oil prices and is also being faced with rising inflation, a stock market slump.
With salaries of government staff taking up to 40% of the annual expenditure, the new administration has promised to streamline the payments hereafter.
The Ministry of Finance has however said that the savings resulting from the anti-corruption measures will help the country tackle its crisis and prevent job cuts.