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FG uncovers 56,000 ghost workers -Report

By The Rainbow
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Not less than 56,000 ghost workers who had been drawing salaries from the country's treasury have been fished out, according to president Goodluck Jonathan..

This, the president added, led to the saving of N161.9bn that would have gone to the ghost workers as of March 2014.

These are parts of the highlight of a book, 'The transformation agenda: Reviewing progress, matching forward,' presented by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday in Abuja.

The book was presented to as as part of activities marking the nation's Democracy Day.

The 98-page book, published by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, highlights the positives achieved through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.

The decision to put the IPPIS in place, the government said, was borne out the various fiscal challenges faced by the nation's economy at the onset of Jonathan's administration.

According to the government, 'In terms of fiscal deficit, in 2010, the government's fiscal deficit stood at 3.5 per cent of GDP, despite the maximum three per cent deficit stipulated by Fiscal Responsibility Act.

'On government spending, a large chunk of government expenditure was focused on recurrent items such as the cost of running several government agencies with overlapping responsibilities and a huge wage bill, leaving little fiscal space for investment in critical infrastructure that could drive economic growth.

In 2010, recurrent expenditures took 73.4 per cent of the total FGN budget while capital expenditures stood at just 26.6 per cent.

'On debt, Federal Government's debt was rising rapidly, reaching N7.5 trillion at the end of 2012 and N10.2 trillion at the end of March 2014.

'On revenue, Nigeria needed to diversify its revenue base and reduce its dependence on oil revenues which are subject to volatile prices.'

According to the book, the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System was introduced in 2012 to improve the acquisition, allocation, utilisation and conservation of the government's resources.

It said the system used automated and integrated economic information to track government expenditures and minimise waste.

It added that the system was used to execute 58 per cent of the 2013 budget while it is expected that 100 per cent of the 2014 budget would be executed, using the programme.

The book further revealed that the government had created a Treasury Single Account, which is a unified structure of government bank accounts that give a consolidated view of the government's cash position.

It stated, 'Over 10 per cent of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on TSA and the government has already gone from an overdraft of N102bn to a credit of N86 bn as at the end of 2013.

'As a result of these measures, the government's fiscal deficit declined from 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2010 to about 1.85 per cent in 2013 but is projected to rise marginally to 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2014.

'Recurrent expenditure also reduced from 74.4 per cent in 2011, to 71.5 per cent in 2012 and further to 67.5 per cent in 2013, but it has risen back to 74 per cent in 2014 on the back of military and civilian pension arrears that needed to be incorporated in the budget and also possible decline in oil revenues.'