The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Wednesday disclosed that 11000 more ghost workers had been uncovered in the federal payroll. She revealed this while briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council’s meeting held at the Presidential Villa.
She said, “On the issue of ghost workers, of the 23,000 that we have removed our payroll has is that we are now investigating another potential 11,000.
“We are using computer techniques to identify those who we need to investigate, so we are now looking at the second batch and as we resolve those cases we would inform you of the amount saved and the number of people removed.”
The revelation comes few months after a similar disclosure showed that 23000 ghost workers had been smuggled into the federal civil service payroll system. This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari issued an executive fiat for a routine audit of all ministries, agencies and parastatals.
She said the audit was aimed at eliminating waste from the system.
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According to her, “In the budget speech, the president said that we would introduce a continuous audit process, particularly of payroll and already that work has resulted in the elimination of about 23,000 fraudulent recipients of federal salary and more work is still ongoing.
“We felt that the continuous audit work should not just be limited to payroll, there is actually need to strengthen internal audit across government and to that extent, the World Bank had in 2010 started an
initiative to try and introduce real-space internal audit in Nigeria, but it wasn’t successful,” Adeosun further said.
The minister explained that, “in the interim we have agreed to do the presidential initiative on continuous audits which will give backing to the work that we are currently doing and will allow us to extend this work beyond payroll to other areas of expenditure.
“FEC deliberated extensively about the need for this and agreed that the control framework over finance and spending of government’s money needed to be strengthened especially in anticipation of the approval of the budget, which is an extended budget.
“If we don’t strengthen our controls then there is a risk that that money would leak or that be applied to the wrong things and therefore, the ability to go into various agencies without notice and check and do audits and updates to make sure that public money is being spent in accordance with our expectations and objectives.
“FEC approved the setting up of this initiative effectively using an executive order to create internal audit to enable us continue this work and to extend it to everywhere that federal money is being spent or received so that we can have better oversight,” she added.
Adeosun said FEC discussed extensively the role of existing internal audit offices and concluded that, “the problem they have is that they actually report to the people that they are supposed to be checking on and so they are actually not able to be as effective as we would like.’
She claimed that about N2.29 bn had been saved since an extensive audit of the federal payroll system commenced under President Muhammadu Buhari.
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