Eze Onyekpere: The Discovery of 45,000 Federal Ghost Workers

Published:18 Feb, 2013

At the meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation last Wednesday, the Council and indeed all Nigerians were informed of the “grand achievement” of the Ministry of Finance in discovering 45,000 ghost workers through the deployment of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. A total of 153,019 workers have so far been audited in 251 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government leaving 321 MDAs not captured under the system. The system, according to the Ministry of Finance, was introduced to enhance efficiency in personnel cost, planning and budgeting. From these figures, it is clear that less than half of the federal MDAs have been audited and we have so far identified 45,000 ghost workers. The implication is that by the time we end this audit, it may be revealed that we have been paying over 100,000 ghost workers at the federal level alone every month!

Earlier media reports had indicated very bizarre findings. It was reported that in one ministry of about 500 staff, 350 were discovered to be ghost workers. In another, 11,000 workers of the 14,000 on the ministry’s payroll were ghosts.  A number of issues arise from these disclosures. First, the deployment of the IPPIS started in October 2006 in seven pilot MDAs, namely the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Federal Ministry of Finance Federal Ministry of Works, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Planning Commission and Budget Office of the Federation. Seven years down the line, the IPPIS has yet to cover half of all MDAs. If this information disclosed in the media is the true state of the IPPIS roll-out, then the speed of the reforms is slower than that of a snail. Who benefits from this reluctance to roll-out the reforms across all the MDAs? Definitely, it is not the ordinary Nigerian but the same entrenched interests in the civil service who are collecting the salaries and perks of office of these ghosts. What is so special about the IPPIS that it cannot be rolled-out in one financial year across the board for all the MDAs?

At some point in 2012, the Federal Government was reported to have slowed down on the implementation of the IPPIS because of intermittent internet connectivity problems. The IPPIS was also partly blamed for delays in the payment of the salaries of civil servants. This was the disclosure of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, during an oversight visit to his office, by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance. The excuse of poor internet connections is too dumb and lame in this day and age for such a project of national importance. We have agencies specifically charged by government to solve such challenges. Blaming the IPPIS for the delay in payment of salaries is clearly giving a dog a bad name to hang it. Whatever delays that might have been are clearly human failures that border on conspiracies and plans to frustrate the reforms.

The second point is that the revelations have proved beyond reasonable doubt that over 35 per cent of the annual budget which goes to personnel cost is a bloated vote, not meant for real and existing human beings who are said to be employed in the public service of the Federation. When you consider the remuneration of these ghosts with the fat emoluments of political office holders, then you will discover why we may never make any progress in terms of having enough resources to deploy to critical growth-inducing infrastructure development. Even the little that is available (which is less than the personnel cost every year) for such development will still be subject to the grand old corruption and inefficiencies which reduce it further to a pittance.

The third issue is that our personnel cost have almost remained constant over the years despite the deployment of the IPPIS which has discovered these ghosts. There is no empirical evidence of a lower wage bill despite the discoveries. The question arising is; if we are saving so much from the discovery of ghost workers, why do we still have such a high personnel budget? Where are the leakages still coming from? Who are then paid these money budgeted for salaries and allowancies? Are we removing existing ghost workers and thereafter padding the payroll with new ones? It is not enough to regale Nigerians with figures of how much has been saved. Where have these savings been channelled to?

The fourth issue arising from the above is that the political will to push through this reform is lacking. It is apparent that neither the President nor the Minister of Finance understands the magnitude of the challenge and how by their inaction, they have held back the development of Nigeria through their refusal to act expeditiously and decisively. The idea that such reforms are introduced gradually to draw lessons and further fine-tune them does not imply that it should take eternity to complete a simply transaction. Continuing a reform transaction for close to seven years increases the cost of the reform and denies the public the gains from such a reform process.  Apologies and stories about why the administration and previous ones failed to do the right thing is not what Nigerians need to hear. Every  Nigerian needs to get informed of the successes recorded, challenges met on the way and how they were surmounted.

The fifth issue is that despite the huge figures recorded as savings since inception in 2006 which run into hundreds of billions of naira, no one has been prosecuted and punished for obtaining and receiving those public funds. Or, did the money so discovered simply disappear on their own? Various sections of the Criminal and Penal Codes, the laws setting up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission have a plethora of provisions that categorically state that such actions and omissions are grave crimes against the state. Someone in the personnel department was responsible for compiling the list of persons to be paid including their positions and emoluments and the compilation was signed off as true and correct by the Accounting Officer being the Permanent Secretary, Director-General or other officer of equivalent status. Yet, no one is held responsible and accountable. The message is clear; the resources of the state belong to no one and there is a big scramble. Any part of the resources which you can appropriate, do so and no one will ask you either to return same or punish you for that.

The message to the President, the Ministry of Finance and all those involved in this IPPIS game for the last seven years is straight-forward. Kindly complete the roll-out to all the MDAs before the end of 2013; bring to book through criminal prosecution all those who approved and collected the hundreds of billions of naira through the fraudulent scheme; and require every Accounting Officer to explain any sudden increase in personnel numbers under him or her after the roll-out in his/her MDA. If the explanation is not satisfactory, prosecute him or her under the relevant laws and throw out all those who have illegally sneaked back into service after allegedly collecting their retirement benefits.  It is only when we take these concerted actions would the discovery of the ghost workers by the government be relevant to us.

 

Eze Onyekpere (censoj@gmail.com)

Read original article via Punch

Related Posts

Recent Posts

‘President’ Ambode: Lagos to link inner roads to Smart city project

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said plans are afoot to link inner roads in the State to the Lagos Smart City Project, just as he expressed readiness to commence deployment of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras in October across the State. Governor Ambode, who disclosed this in Coker Aguda area of the State at the commissioning of some of the 114 roads, newly constructed in the 20 Local Government Areas (LGs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs),...

Shade Of Life: Ebonyi People are myopic, they don’t behave like Igbos – IPOB

The Indigenous People of Bifara, IPOB, has lampooned the people of Ebonyi State for spurning the sit-at-home order it passed. The group had in a circular issued few days ago, asked Ndigbo nationwide to spend the day indoor in protest against the continuous detention of the leader of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. The directive, however, witnessed non-compliance as normal activities and vehicular movements were unperturbed across Ebonyi State. The Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Ugochukwu Nweke while reacting to the development, described the...

Buhari approves 56th independence anniversary programme

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the programme of events for the commemoration of Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary. Bolaji Adebiyi, Director of Press in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja. Mr. Adebiyi said an interdenominational thanksgiving church service had been scheduled for September 25 at the National Worship Centre, Abuja at 4p.m. A public lecture and Jumma’at prayers are slated for September 30 at 11 a.m. and 1...

PDP may declare Dariye’s seat vacant – Dachom

Former Organising Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau state, Mr. Mike Dachom, has said that the party might declare the seat of a former governor of the state, Mr. Joshua Dariye, vacant following his defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress. Dariye was governor of Plateau State under PDP from 1999 to 2007. Dariye, before his defection, represents Plateau central senatorial zone in the Senate under the PDP. He first got to the Senate under the Labour Party in...

Nigeria loses N800bn to auto policy

The President, Shippers Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said the Federal Government had lost about N800 billion to the auto policy on imported vehicles. The 70 per cent tariff and levy on imported vehicles which took effect in 2015, had reduced vehicle imports by more than 50 per cent. Nicol on Friday said that other ports outside Nigeria in Benin, Togo and Ghana now accepted the vehicles and developing their economies with proceeds from the imports. According to him, with the...

MTN denies paying bribe to reduce NCC fine

South Africa’s MTN denied it paid a bribe to Nigerian officials to reduce its fine to 330 billion naira ($1.05bn) as part of settling a dispute over disconnecting unregistered SIM cards in the West African country.   MTN said in a statement on Friday there had been allegations that a top official in the Nigerian presidency took a payment towards reducing the fine.   The telecom group was initially fined $5.2bn last October for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM...

Your anti-corruption policy scaring investors – Sen. Bruce tells Buhari

Senator Ben Bruce (PDP Bayelsa East) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adjust his approach to the anti-corruption crusade, saying the policy was scaring investors. Bruce, who disclosed this while contributing to the Senate’s debate on the economic recession in the country, said Nigeria should not expect foreign investments as even local investors had stopped investing. He said that people who had money to invest were no longer doing so because the anti-graft agencies were harassing any person with...

EPL: Mourinho feels heat as Wenger marks anniversary

Jose Mourinho has vowed to silence the critics when Manchester United face champions Leicester, while his old rival Arsene Wenger hopes to celebrate a memorable milestone with a rare success against Chelsea on Saturday. Mourinho finds himself under fire less than two months into his United reign after three successive defeats and an unconvincing League Cup win at third tier Northampton. United are already trailing six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and another setback at Old Trafford this weekend...

Reps begin investigation into Jibrin’s budget padding allegations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Friday in Abuja, commenced public investigation into allegations of fraud made by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin against the House. This followed Wednesday’s resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate the allegations, bordering on breach of privileges of members. It would be recalled that the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, accused the leadership of the National Assembly of padding the 2016 budget. In his allegation, Jibrin alluded that the corruption...

Khama should ‘go hang’ for telling Mugabe to step down – Minister

Ian Khama’s call for President Robert Mugabe to step down hasn’t gone down too well with the Zimbabwe government: the Botswana president should just “go hang” Mugabe’s former spin-doctor says. Or he should concentrate on Botswana’s desert, Jonathan Moyo says witheringly in an article for a private weekly in Zimbabwe. Khama’s call on his ageing neighbour to step down after 36 years in power was greeted thankfully by many Zimbabweans on social media, where the current wave of protests against the...

Bayelsa first lady, Rachael Dickson gives birth to quadruplet

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and family may have to continue in celebration as after many years of childlessness, his wife and First Lady of Bayelsa State, Dr. Rachael Dickson delivered of a quadruplet – a bouncing baby boy and three baby girls.   We gathered that the mother and children are doing very well.   Saint Mienpamo, Special Assistant on Research & Social Media to the Governor says the ”Governor’s joy knows no bound.”   The latest news has been tagged a double celebration as...

Electrician jailed 3 months for stealing N11,000 phone

A Jos Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday sentenced a 22-year-old electrician, Abdulgafar Musa to three months in prison for stealing a Nokia phone valued N11,000. Musa, of No. 66, Shehu Street, Jos, was charged with theft. The Magistrate, Mr Jovita Binjin, sentenced the convict after he pleaded guilty to the crime and begged for leniency. In his plea, the convict said “It was the devil’s hand work; jobs are not coming and I needed money to eat and also give help to...

Recession: Those demanding asset sale are economic predators – Sani

A Nigerian senator, Shehu Sani, has described proponents of sale of the country’s national asset as “economic predators and profiteers who want to take advantage of the situation in the country.” Mr. Sani, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, said in a statement on Friday that “Nigeria’s capitalist forces raped Nigeria to recession and now they want to kill and bury it.” Nigeria is currently going through one of the worst recessions in its history, due...

Stop expecting too much from Buhari, pray for him – APGA chieftain

A Chieftain of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Katsina State, Alhaji Umar Tata, on Friday urged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari with prayers to lead Nigeria out of its present predicaments. Tata, the party’s governorship candidate in 2015, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Funtua, Katsina state. He cautioned Nigerians against over reliance on the President, saying that “he is human and capable of making mistakes.” According to him, what is...

NEMA returns 5,403 citizens to their homes from IDPs camps

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the return of 5403 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to the home after their stay in Camps. The returnees include 1517 in Mafa , 750 in konduga, 1200 in Ngamboru and about 1,936 are due to return to Dikwa This is coming at a period Governor of Borno State Alh kashim shettima and a team of NEMA North East zonal staff led by Zonal coordinator Alh Muhammed Kanar spent the night in Bama in...

Police Uncover Fraudsters’ Den In Ogun

The Ogun State Police Command has uncovered a “fraudsters’ den” at Pokuku Village in the Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state. The den, which was nicknamed “Pokuku Shrine” was until Wednesday allegedly used by suspected fraudsters to carry out different forms of criminal activities such as fraud, according to the police. The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu, on Wednesday said the police raided the shrine after an intelligence report on criminal activities being perpetrated there. The shrine,...

Bayelsa State Gov Dickson’s Wife Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Wife of Bayelsa State governor and first lady of the state, Rachael Dickson, has put to bed quadruplets (four babies) today. The team of four babies includes four females and one boy. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, chief Press secretary to governor Seriake Dickson said in a statement released moments ago: "This is particularly good news for the family and Bayelsans because this bundle of joy is coming after many years of praying and waiting upon the Lord. "Governor Dickson thanks friends, family members and Bayelsans...

Patience Jonathan: EFCC places witnesses against under security watch

As the trial of former aides of ex-First Lady, Patience Jonathan, begins on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed its 13 witnesses in the case under security watch. The witnesses, including a banker and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are expected to tell the court how four slush accounts were opened for the former First Lady. It was gathered that the accounts were opened by the ex-First Lady’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic/Household and Social Events to...

Gov. Dickson hails judiciary as APC, Sylva lose at Appeal Court

The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has commended the judiciary for its steadfastness in protecting the sanctity of the ballot and upholding itself as the bastion of the nation’s democracy. Dickson’s comment came on Thursday afternoon following the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the earlier judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in his favour. Both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal upheld the election of Dickson, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party...

Markets open as traders boycott IPOB’s sit-at-home order

The sit-at-home order by pro-Biafra groups, especially the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) was boycotted in Imo State Friday. Markets, schools, government offices, as well as other public places were opened for business against the directive of the separatists groups, which ordered complete closure of all markets and business places across the Southeast to pray for the release of the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kalu. In Owerri, the Imo...

Watch This Guy Destroy An iPhone 7 In Order To Test Its Durability

Recently, YouTuber JerryRigEverything got his hands on the new jet black iPhone 7 after reading a peculiar warning on Apple's website. According to the video, while the company assured buyers that the phone's surface is just "as hard as other anodized Apple products," it also said that due to the color's high shine, it "may show fine micro-abrasions with use." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hya-sd4sWY Read More: cosmopolitan