From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
THE Federal Government has removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll, through the on-going BVN- based staff audit and enrolment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to the Ministry of Finance, the wage bill for February 2016 has reduced by N2.293 billion when compared with that of December 2015.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Finance Minister, Festus Akanbi, yesterday said this figure represents a percentage of
the number of non-existent workers who had hitherto been receiving salary from various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). It was further explained that the investigation of other suspected cases continues in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Federal Government is also taking actions to pursue recovery of salary balances in bank accounts as well as any pension contributions in respect of the deleted workers. This involves active collaboration with the concerned banks and the National Pension Commission (Pencom).
The ministry noted that the Military Pensions Board has
revised the amount payable for its due pension contributions on a monthly basis by N575 million, following its annual verification exercise for military retirees. This reduced the number of pensioners by 19,203 as a result of deaths since the last verification exercise in 2012.
The federal government, in its efforts to reduce personnel cost, is determined to continue the verification programme on a regular periodic basis, the statement indicated.
Due to the fact that personnel costs represent over 40 percent of total government expenditure, the ministry explained that the federal government would continue to strengthen its payroll controls. “It plans to undertake
periodic checks and to utilise Computer Assisted Audit Techniques under its new Continuous Audit Programme. This will ensure that all payments are accurate and valid. Requirements for new entrants joining the Federal Civil Service have also been enhanced to prevent the introduction of fictitious employees in future.”
The on-going exercise, which is part of the cost-saving and anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, ‘is key to funding the deficit in the 2016 budget, as savings made will ultimately reduce the amount to be borrowed.”