Ghost workers: FG saved N208bn in 2 years

The federal government under the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) has saved N208 billion in ghost salaries on the payroll of civil servants.

The amount was from the recovery of salaries paid to ex-diplomats, reduction in personnel cost to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, payroll shortfall verification, reduction in the non-regular allowances of the armed forces and the para-military agencies  and reduction in the non-regular allowances of health institutions, among others.

Speaking over the weekend at the seminar in Abuja for finance journalists, organised by the ministry of finance, Secretary of PICA, Dr Mohammed K. Dikwa said in 2016 the committee  saved a total of N 97,939,974,344 and in 2017 the amount saved was N110,461,098,196.

He explained that part of reforms that helped recoverer the money were removal of over 50,000 ghost workers from the FGN Payroll; 800 ex-employees of FGN collecting salaries from various MDAs were stopped forthwith; 400 staff from different MDAs collecting double salaries were identified and recovered; 30,000 staff in the payroll not in the nominal roll of MDAs are being verified.

Others abnormalities identified by the committee were that over 32,000 employee records on IPPIS with pension and other deficiencies are presently being investigated and that about 12,024 staff collect their salaries in 75 non-commercial banks comprising of 62 microfinance banks, 7 mortgage banks, 3 finance company, 2 bureau de change and 1 development finance institution.

“A total of 681 employees used more than one salary account (changing from one salary account to another and with all the accounts held with non-commercial banks)” he added.

Under the Whistle Blower policy of the government, Dikwa said the initiative was able to recover N7.8 billion, US$378 million and £27,800 so far.

He said the government received 8,373 total communications out of which, 1,231 were real tips and 791 of them are under investigation with 534 of them investigated and 40 were referred to EFCC, ICPC or the DSS.

The PICA was set up by the Federal Government in March, 2016 with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel cost, ensure compliance with public financial management reform, detect errors and making recommendations to management for necessary actions.

Meanwhile, a total of N8.9 trillion gross inflows were recorded in the Treasury Single Account of the federal government, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has said.

Speaking at the seminar for the financial journalists in Abuja over the weekend, Idris said  so far 1,674 MDAs were enrolled in the single account and about N40 billion is saved on a monthly basis on ways and means charges.

He said the TSA is one of the most popular and widely accepted reforms in Nigeria and it has assisted Federal Government in mitigating cash flow constraints arising from declining oil revenue savings made in interest payments are applied to other areas of need.