Nigerian government removes 23,846 ‘ghost’ workers from payroll

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An audit by the Nigeria federal government has discovered more than 20,000 non-existent workers on the payroll. Periodic checks are to be continued to avert further abuse.

The audit used biometric data and a bank verification number (BVN) to discover where the salaries were being paid. The names of some civil servants receiving a salary did not correspond to the names on the bank accounts. Some individuals were receiving salaries from multiple sources.

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“The federal government has removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll,” Festus Akanbi, a special adviser to the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, announced on Sunday. “Consequently the salary bill for February 2016 has reduced by 2.293bn naira (10.5 million euros) when compared to December 2015 when the BVN audit process commenced,” Akanbi added.

The ministry said it would now undertake “periodic checks and utilize computer-assisted audit techniques.” New and tougher monitoring of entrants to the civil service are to be introduced to stop further abuses of the system.

Akanbi said the ministry was working with the financial crimes agency and the National Pension Commission to identify irregularities. The aim was to recover salaries and pension contributions related to the ‘ghost’ workers.

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