President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to end wage theft and other forms of financial leakage prevalent in the civil service.
The President in his Democracy Day speech on Sunday noted that Nigeria needed strong and incorruptible pillars of state administration on which democracy can take root and thrive.
“Accordingly, we are working very hard to introduce some vital structural reforms in the way we conduct government business and lay a solid foundation on which we can build enduring change.
He noted that as well as adopting a savings culture, government has changed the way public money is spent.
“An important first step has been to get our housekeeping right. So we have reduced the extravagant spending of the past. We started boldly with the treasury single account, stopping the leakages in public expenditure.
“We then identified forty-three thousand ghost workers through the integrated payroll and personal information system. That represents pay packets totaling N4.2 billion stolen every month. In addition, we will save twenty-three billion per anum from official travelling and sitting allowances alone.”
President Buhari stressed that the government’s efficiency unit will cut costs and eliminate duplications in ministries and departments to make every little saving count.
“The reduction in the number of ministries and work on restructuring and rationalization of the MDAs is well underway. When this work is complete we will have a leaner, more efficient public service that is fit for the purpose of changing Nigeria for the good and for good,” he said.
Meanwhile on Friday in Iperu-Remo, Ogun State, while monitoring the biometric data capturing of officers and men of the Nigerian Police under the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Minister of Finance, MrsKemiAdeosun hinted that EFCC will soon prosecute ghost workers.
According to the minister, all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government would be enrolled into IPPIS platform.
Adeosun pointed out that through the platform and Bank Verification Number (BVN), the President MuhammaduBuhari-led administration continued to uncover ghost workers on its payroll.
She said: “The figure keeps changing. Every day we keep cleaning up the payroll and this has been going on for a long time. But so far it seems it is about 43,000 and it keeps on increasing and we would continue until we remove all.
“Every time we remove those who shouldn’t be there, it creates room to employ those who are ready to work and create money to spend on things the country needs. We are in talks with the EFCC and they are going to start the prosecutions very soon.”
Asked whether ghosts can actually be prosecuted, Adeosun noted that “ghost workers” are merely generic terms for certain categories of those drawing money illegally from government coffers.
She added: “Some do not exist but get into the payroll through a fraudulent way and some people are collecting salaries from two or three places.”