How 46,821 ghost workers were uncovered - Okonjo Iweala

By The Rainbow

The Federal Government has so far identified 46,821 ghost workers in 215 of its ministries, departments and agencies, thanks to the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the IPPIS, an innovation of government meant to enhance efficiency in efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting, had 153,019  members of staff in 215 ministries, departments and agencies.

She said that work was currently ongoing to bring in the other 321 MDAs into the system.

Under IPPIS,  personnel costs are  based on actual verified numbers and not estimates.

Okonjo-Iweala said the scheme was part of the reform measures aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of government resources.

The event was an avenue for ministers to present their mid-term stewardship to Nigerians about their contributions to the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The minister said, 'The Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System enhances efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting, as personnel cost will be based on actual verified numbers and not estimates.

'Two hundred and fifteen MDAs (153,019 staff) are on the IPPIS as of January 2013. Savings on payroll cost to date is N118.9bn and work is ongoing to bring in other 321 MDAs not yet on the IPPIS. About 46,821 ghost workers have also been identified.'

According to her,  the introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System in April 2012 had helped to boost the speedy execution of the budget.

She said, 'The GIFMIS is aimed at improving the acquisition, allocation, utilisation and conservation of public financial resources, using automated and integrated, effective, efficient and economic information systems.

'Fifty-eight per cent of the budget is now executed through GIFMIS. This is expected to rise to 79 per cent by end of the third quarter of 2013.'

On the Treasury Single Account, which is a unified structure of government's bank accounts that gives a consolidated view of the cash position, Okonjo-Iweala explained that its introduction had helped to reduce how government's accounts were being overdrawn.

'Ninety-three MDAs are currently on the TSA. Government's overdrawn position has dropped from N102bn in 2011 to N19bn in 2012,' he said.

The minister also said the Federal Government had taken adequate measures to increase non-oil revenues.

For instance, she said through tax enforcement mechanism, the government had recovered over N10.65bn as outstanding tax liabilities.

She also said the modernisation of tax administration and operation helped the government to register 227,140 new tax payers in 2012 alone.

Okonjo-Iweala also used the occasion to clarify what she called misconception about the country's debt position.

She said that contrary to the widely held opinion that Nigeria was becoming a highly indebted nation; the country's national debt was still low.

The minister explained that what the government was doing was to reduce domestic borrowing and take advantage of the interest-free loans from international financial organisations.

Giving a flow of the domestic borrowing, Okonjo-Iweala said N107bn was borrowed in 2006; N200bn in 2007 and N155bn in 2008.