The Kogi State government lost a whooping N213,034,857,280bn to ghost workers in 16 years, the state Auditor General, Alhaji Yusufu Okala, has revealed.
Okala stated this at the presentation of the report of Staff Screening and Validation Committee, jointly led by himself and the Auditor General of the Local Governments Areas, Mallam Usman Ahmed Ododo, to the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, at a Stakeholders Forum held in Government House, Lokoja, on Monday.
Okala said: “As at the time of inaugurating the Staff Screening and Verification Committee on February 22, 2016, the total staff on the nominal payroll of the State (State MDAs and Local Governments) was 88, 973 with monthly wage bill of N 5,809,578,703.72. However, after the conclusion of this exercise on July 24, 2016, the cleared and validated workforce is 63, 870.”
While presenting the report, Okala said his committee has recommended the computerization the payroll system of the state, local government workforce and pensioners, centralising payroll processing, biometric for all state and local governments staff, and Introduction of predisbursement audit for salary payment among other recommendations.
In his response, Gov. Bello lamented the colossal loss recorded by the state to ghost workers, adding that his administration has put a permanent stop to financial theft in the state.
According to the governor, the screening exercise is the first layer of civil service reform, which his administration is embarking on, insisting that he is determined to re-position the State Civil Service to play a vital role of facilitating economic drive growth in the state.
The governor however set up a review committee to entertain complaints that may arise from the screening exercise. The 11-man committee is expected to submit its report within 21 days.
It would be recalled that the state government has been at loggerheads with civil servants in the state over months of salary arrears and alleged victimization in the staff verication exercise, with of the workers complaining of being declared ghost workers after putting in so many year in the service of the state.
The workers are still on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
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