Ghost workers are a drain on any economy. This is because these “workers” reap where they did not sow. The ghost workers syndrome is a situation whereby some persons collect salaries and allowances without the corresponding work to justify that salary. These persons, who are usually civil servants, cheat the government by manipulating records either by adding fake names to the payroll or using dead people’s profiles to draw salaries at the end of every month. This is more
prevalent in the public civil service sector.
Recently, the federal government discovered over 23, 000 ghost workers on its payroll following the staff audit of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), out of which it discovered that one civil servant was collecting the salaries of 30 persons monthly. This is in addition to the over 1, 800 discovered in Kano including those discovered in Kaduna.
In the past two years, over 100,000 ghost workers have been identified nationwide. These ghost workers have cost government, at all levels, billions of naira. The drain has made many state governments and the Federal Government to embark on workers’ verification exercise, one of which is the one being carried out in Kaduna state. This level of corruption has continued to affect the country down in no small way; this why government needs to check the trend as fast as it can.
In order to stem the tide, some administrations had put certain measures in place. The previous administration introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which was a biometric data capture system used in the verification of the actual number of staff on the government’s payroll. Also, the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced and to unify customers’ accounts across various banks in order to ease transactions. Through the BVN, the government said, it was able to further unfold some ghost workers.
The financial institutions, especially the banks, have a huge role to play in this scam, most especially as monies are drawn through bank accounts. The point of registration of a new customer who presents fake documents or information is an avenue to check this fraudulent practice.
In as much as the biometric data capture has streamlined the authentic numbers, the banks also have a role to play in ensuring that the government does not continue to lose huge sums of money this way.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the discoveries will be sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigations. The concern is that in the past, such discoveries were also forwarded to the anti-corruption agencies, but what became of the cases?
Furthermore, care needs to be taken with records after recruitment of staff, as this could easily be the easiest point where the ghost names could be slotted into the government’s payroll.
Records of deaths should be properly documented in order to determine the actual number of staff who have either died or have been disengaged.