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

I Have No Interest In Running For Political Office- Dangote

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote on Tuesday said that he had no interest in actively participating in politics, saying business and politics should never be mixed. Dangote, the Chairman of Dangote Group, made this known while speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to the Awolowo family over the death of Mrs Hannah Awolowo (HID) at the family’s residence in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun. The business mogul said that the set of skills required to become successful in...

Why People Didn’t Like The Yeezy Boost 350- Kanye West

Kanye West is currently taking part in ShowStudio's "In Camera" live interview series and is dropping a ton of gems as expected. While breaking down his aspirations and the elements of the Yeezy Season collections, the discussion shifted towards sneakers and Kanye let loose this bomb about the polarizing adidas Yeezy Boost 350 model. "They saw the 350s and acted like they didn't like them because they’re racist," he said. 

EFCC Arrests Oil Tycoon On Corruption Charges

Nigeria has arrested the chairman of a local oil firm, a security official said on Tuesday, as part of a widening graft investigation in Africa's biggest petroleum producer that has also netted former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. Days after British police detained Alison-Madueke, one of Africa's most powerful women, the official said their counterparts in Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Atlantic Energy chairman Olajide Omokore on corruption and money laundering charges.

Kylie Jenner Reveals Secret Behind Her Butt

Kylie Jenner has revealed the secret behind her… behind. The reality star, 18, admitted her enviable butt is not all natural – she wears padded Spanx! Kylie posted a photo of herself on Snapchat wearing the shapewear, captioned "These new spanx are bomb. From Target." After...

Senate may involve EFCC, ICPC in ministerial screening

The Senate leadership will adopt the formal procedure for the screening of ministerial nominees behind closed doors on Tuesday. It may also involve anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission in the screening of those nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to become ministers under the present administration.

Tribunal Nullifies Reps’ Election, Orders Fresh Polls

The Elections Petitions Tribunal siting in Akure, Ondo State, has nullified the election of Victor Akinjo as member representing Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State. The tribunal nullified the election and ordered fresh polls on the grounds that Mr. Akinjo was not a bona fide member of the Peoples Democratic Party at the time the election was held. Credit: premiumtimesng

Independence Day Bombing: Okah Attempts Suicide In Court

There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court in Abuja as the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Charles Okah, threatened to end his trial when he attempted to take his life. Okah, who is standing trial for terrorism, sought the permission of the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to air his views over what he termed “endless trial”, due to his lawyer’s absence in court.

Victor Moses pulls out of Super Eagles October friendlies for fear of injuries

West Ham United forward, Victor Moses has pulled out of the Super Eagles friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon. The Eagles will play the Leopards of DR Congo in Vise, Liege on Thursday, October 8 before facing Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in Dendermonde on Sunday, October 11. The on-loan...

Police Nabs Fake DSP

Anambra state police command, has arrested a 32-year old man, Abdul Makong, a native of Gari-Lamido in Taraba state for impersonating as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). According to the state Police Commissioner, Hosea Karma, the arrest followed a tip off when he went to the palace of a traditional ruler in Awka-South Local Government Area of the state, urging the people to bring some money so that he could recruit interested members into the force...

Prisoners revolt: Gov El-Rufai approves N24m for renovation of Zaria Prisons

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has approved N24 milion for the renovation of portions of the Zaria prisons destroyed by inmates during a revolt three months ago. Alhaji Abubakar Gada, Controller, Kaduna State Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service, who disclosed this on Monday in Kaduna, said that the renovation had already reached 95 per cent completion.

3 Boko Haram Militants Killed Transporting Bomb

Three militants of the Boko Haram group died on Tuesday when a bomb they were transporting exploded in Niger’s Far East region of Diffa, local sources said. The bomb exploded when they were about to enter Bosso town, one of the sources told newsmen, adding that the militants were planning to carry out an attack. On Sunday, 10 people, among them one soldier, five civilians and four suicide bombers, were killed in two separate suicide...

Wendy Williams Suggests Terrence Howard Should Be Fired From Empire, He Responds

During her hot topics on her show on October 1st, Wendy Williams suggested that Terrence Howard should be fired from the Fox hit 'Empire' for his real-life abuse allegations and bizarre behavior. "Terrence Howard, your personal life has taken over to where if by chance they took you off the show I would be happier than mad," Williams, 51, said during her Empire recap segment. "I feel like between him allegedly being abusive to women in his...

Tennis: Djokovic, Williams top latest world rankings

Serbia's Novak Djokovic remained number one in the latest world rankings released by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on Monday while Spain's David Ferrer moved to seventh. Djokovic continues to top the pile on 15,645 points, ahead of Roger Federer on 9,420 and Andy Murray on 8,640. Ferrer, with...

Messi Tax Fraud Charges Dropped

Authorities determined that the Barcelona and Argentina star was not aware of alleged manoeuvres to avoid fiscal obligations, given his age at the time of the infractions Lionel Messi has seen charges of tax evasion against him dropped as prosecutors in Catalunya seek 18 months imprisonment for his father, Jorge Messi. The Barcelona star had been accused of avoiding €4.1 million in tax obligations from 2007 to...

APC Chairman, Sylva clash over running mate

Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election, a major crack has occurred between the State Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Tiwei Orunimighe, and the party’s candidate, Timipre Sylva, over running mate. Supporters of Orunimighe staged a protest on Tuesday at...

Integrity Group petitions Rotimi Amaechi’s ministerial nomination

Integrity Group, an anti-corruption group,  has filed a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate protesting the nomination of the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, as a ministerial nominee, citing allegations of fraudulent practices during his tenure as the governor of the state. The group argue that Amaechi is yet to clear his name over allegations of fraud concerning the sale of the state power plants and conversion of proceeds running into $302 million, unlawful payment...

11 Chadian Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Attack

Boko Haram Islamists attacked Chadian soldiers on Tuesday, killing 11 and wounding 13, a Chadian security source said, in the latest deadly raid by the militants despite a regional offensive against them. The source said 17 Boko Haram fighters also died in the fighting following the pre-dawn strike near the Nigerian border and Lake Chad. “Boko Haram members attacked our positions at 4:30 am (0330 GMT) in Kaiga Ngouboua about two kilometres (about a mile)...

What Kim Kardashian Really Feels About Being Pregnant

Kim Kardashian is feeling the pregnancy woes the second time around. In a new post on her website titled "From the Desk Of: How I Really Feel About Being Pregnant," the reality star does some venting about her second pregnancy. "I'm gonna keep it real: For me, pregnancy is the worst...

Janet Jackson & Husband Make Rare Public Appearance At Paris Fashion Week

Janet Jackson may be traveling around the world in honor of her Unbreakable Tour. A busy schedule, however, wouldn't stop the "All for You" crooner from stopping by Paris Fashion Week for a special show. In a rare public appearance together, Jackson joined husband Wissam Al Mana in the front row for Hermes' 2016 Spring/Summer show. The superstar performer kept things comfortable thanks to a  black turtleneck with matching pants and sunglasses. Meanwhile, her main man...

Why Instagram Does Not Permit Display Of Women’s Nipples

If you post a photo on Instagram in which nipples are visible and those nipples belong to a woman — there's a good chance it will be taken down. Just ask Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus, or Chelsea Handler, or Naomi Campbell. After nearly a year of #FreeTheNipple backlash, Business Insider reports that Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has finally explained their censorship: Apparently it's all about Apple. In order to keep your app available for Apple smartphones, you have...

Engagement Rings Soon To Be Worn As Nose Ring (PHOTOS)

As showcased in her spring/summer 2016 collection,? jewelry designer ?Delfina Delettrez has a new idea for those looking to pop the question: Engagement septum rings. Seeing as though septum piercings (jewelry worn on the bit of cartilage that divides your nostrils) are such a popular piercing trend right now among both bloggers and celebrities, the idea of a diamond septum ring isn't too out there. https://instagram.com/p/5Mimu-Rc2A/ Read More: cosmopolitan