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

19-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots Himself While Taking Gun Selfie

Deleon Smith, a 19-year-old father of two, was found dead in Houston, Texas, yesterday after accidentally shooting himself in the throat while trying to take a selfie, ABC 13 reports. Police say Smith was posting photos to Instagram with his cousin when the gun went off. According to KHOU, Smith attempted to take a photo with the gun pointed to his head when the gun went off. His uncle who lives...

12 Things Guys Will Never Understand About Bras

The pure relief you feel at the end of the day when you take them off.I've had this described to me on multiple occasions through a variety of different expressive mediums, and it sounds way better than how just taking off your underwear feels. If I had to draw a male parallel, it'd probably be the moment your balls touch the water as you jump in a pool on a hot summer's day. And...

Acid Attack Survivor Does Beauty Tutorials To Raise Awareness (WATCH VIDEO)

In 2014, Reshma's brother-in-law allegedly threw sulfuric acid on her face while she was visiting Northern India to take an exam. She lost her left eye as a result, and her right eye is partially closed and infected. She suffers from severe burns and disfigurement and will need cosmetic surgery to repair the muscles around her mouth. Reshma's video on how to get the perfect red lips begins much like any other beauty tutorial. In an upbeat voice, she advises viewers to...

Paris Hilton’s Expensive Diamond Ring Found In Poland

Paris Hilton got lucky in Poland when a firefighter found her extremely expensive diamond ring on a bus, but based on what we know there's something sketchy going on here. Paris apparently lost the diamond-studded ring Friday on an airport shuttle bus in the city of Lodz. Two days later, an airport fireman found it on the floor of the shuttle. Now here's the sketchy part. An airport spokeswoman says the fireman thought the ring belonged...

Oh My! Braless Rihanna All Over Doir Magazine

Called Bad Girl Riri for obvious reasons, Rihanna shares her edgy new photo shoot in the pages of Dior magazine. The pop princess flashed her nipples by going braless in the stunning structured gown, paired with a flowing, velvet coat and grey latex boots with a pink perspex heel. See instagram posts below: https://instagram.com/p/7J3qICBM-k/?taken-by=badgalriri https://instagram.com/p/7J6duPhMyR/?taken-by=badgalriri https://instagram.com/p/7J7YndhMzU/?taken-by=badgalriri https://instagram.com/p/7J8n31BM0w/?taken-by=badgalriri https://instagram.com/p/7J9ETfhM1Q/?taken-by=badgalriri  

AY Shares Holiday Photos With Family In Houston

Stand up comedian, actor and producer, Ay, is enjoying some family time in Houston. He shares these lovely photos of himself, his wife and daughter and captioned "#FamilyTimeIn Houston". See instagram posts below: https://instagram.com/p/7J9VXjm4Py/?taken-by=aycomedian https://instagram.com/p/7J-Bq6m4Ac/?taken-by=aycomedian

Monalisa Chinda Covers House Of Maliq September Issue

The fair adorable beauty, Monalisa Chinda, who now hosts a talk show shared a lovely photo of herself, as captured for House of Maliq magazine. All covered in red, the actress said in her caption that she is on the cover of this month's issue, which is also her birth month. See Instagram post below: https://instagram.com/p/7KoTPxogqN/?taken-by=monalisacode  

Jonathan, Alamieyeseigha, others to attend Dickson’s declaration

Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, are among prominent Ijaw leaders that will attend the event as the incumbent Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, declares for second term ambition next Tuesday. Others expected at the event include the national leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governors and National Assembly members.

Stephanie Linus Named Ambassador On Campaign Against Women Violence In Election

The heavily pregnant gorgeous beauty and ace actress, Stephanie Linus, shares photos of herself and acting INEC Boss, Hajiya Amina Zakari, among others as she was named the ambassador of Stop-VAWIE (Stop Violence Against Women In Election). She has fast began her responsibility by urging women to participate in the forth coming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa. See Instagram photos below: https://instagram.com/p/7KYks9mOV_/?taken-by=stephanielinus https://instagram.com/p/7Kamf_GOYH/?taken-by=stephanielinus https://instagram.com/p/7KoLo0mOY5/?taken-by=stephanielinus

Change is no longer a mere slogan, it is now reality – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that Nigerians will see the fulfillment of his electoral campaign promises soon. The president who spoke in Abuja on Wednesday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, while receiving members of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, who marched to the presidential villa to pledge their full support for his anti-corruption campaign, urged Nigerian youths to be rest assured that his government’s anti-corruption campaign would secure their future.   While promising that the...

Watch How Miley Cyrus’ Family React To Nicki Minaj’s VMAs Drama

Miley Cyrus wasn't the only one caught off guard by Nicki Minaj's harsh words for her at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. MTV cameras caught the reaction of the Cyrus family sitting in the audience during the epic moment, including Miley's parents, Tish and Billy Ray Cyrus, and her younger sister, 15-year-old Noah. And if you need any more...

What Jay-Z Is Planning To Give His Queen Bey On Her Birthday

According to The Sun (UK), Jay-Z has gone all out for Bey’s 34th birthday, splashing out on some custom-made, diamond-heeled Manolo Blahniks. No word on how much the glamorous present cost Jay-Z, 45, but we can only assume we’d have to sell every single one of our belongings to afford just one of the diamond shoes. Maybe even just the actual heel part. Or a single diamond. As well as gifting his...

Reps summon Finance Ministry, others over delayed implementation of budget

Members of the House of Representatives have summoned the Finance Ministry, Budget Office, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, National Planning Commission, Debt Management Office and Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to explain what is stalling the implementation of the 2015 Appropriation Act.   The House had, at its August 13, 2015 plenary, constituted an ad-hoc committee to investigate the non- implementation of the budget following a motion promoted by Rep. Patrick Asadu, Enugu PDP, under matters of urgent public importance. He had...

Cameroon Frees Lagos Based Journalist

Cameroonian authorities on Tuesday freed a Lagos-based Cameroonian journalist, Simon Ateba, after detaining him for four days in the country’s far north region. In a statement issued in Cameroon on Tuesday, the journalists union in the country said President Paul Biya himself ordered Mr. Ateba’s release. Mr. Ateba was arrested by the country’s security while investigating the conditions of Nigerian refugees camped in the country’s far north. Read More: premiumtimesng

Boko Haram Horsemen Strike Again, Kill 26

Insurgents rode on horses to remote Kolori and Ba’ana Imam villages in Damboa Local Government Area where they opened fire on villagers, killing no fewer than 26 people. One of the leaders of youth vigilance group; Civilian JTF in Biu told Daily Sun that many of the villagers fled to Biu on Tuesday, a day after the attack. “The attack occurred on Monday evening. Some Boko Haram insurgents rode to Kolori on horses at about...

Soyinka is ignorant, mischievous – Oyinlola fires back at Soyinka

A former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has described the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka’s criticism of him over the status of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, as ignorance and mischief. One of Oyinlola's aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Oyinlola was surprised that Soyinka was...

International Development Partners join forces with Aisha Buhari on maternal, child Health

The United Nations (UN) under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin and a team of Development Partners, are exploring opportunities through Mrs Buhari’s office to develop a support programme to complement the present administration’s efforts at improving health, nutrition and population outcomes in Nigeria. The Senior Special Assistant to Mrs. Buhari, Dr. Hajo Sani, who disclosed this in a statement Wednesday, said that the wife of the president's concern about the plight of mothers and children...

MDCN nabs fake female doctor in Abuja

A young woman who had been posing as a medical doctor for years using forged documents has been arrested by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) on Wednesday. This is the first time the MDCN will successfully arrest a fake female doctor. According to a report by Daily Trust, the fake doctor, Angela Njide Nwosu, was arrested on the first day of her new N280,000-a-month job at a newly opened private hospital in Bwari Area Council of Abuja after...

Police To Strengthen Security Around INEC Offices

Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has disclosed its resolve to tighten security in and around offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, across the country. Consequently, Command Commissioners of Police have been directed to ensure adequate security at such offices and also at election tribunal sittings. Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase, stated this yesterday when he visited headquarters of INEC in Abuja, where he met Acting Chairperson, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari. Force...

Why Power Supply Has Improved Significantly

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of power, Amb. Godknows Igali, has disclosed that the steady increase in power supply recently experienced in the country is occasioned by the charge of President Muhammadu Buhari to power sector operators to redouble their efforts in the quest of ensuring uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians during his tenure. Igali made the disclosure while signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two indigenous investors in the power sector namely Messrs. New...

PDP admits it made mistake in Akpabio’s nomination form

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has admitted that what was written in the nomination of the former governor and Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, as the candidate for Akwa Ibom North-East senatorial district in the 2015 general election was done in error.   Appearing before the Justice Goddy Anunihu-led Akwa Ibom State National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, the National Secretary of the party, Prof. Adewale Abiodun Oladipo, clarified that what was intended to be written and...