The Federal Government says it eliminated about 50,000 ghost workers from its payroll and saved the nation about N143 billion that would have been spent on paying the ghost workers in the in 2016.
It also said that it has handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for prosecution 11 persons believed to be members of a syndicate responsible for the presence of 50,000 ghost workers on the Federal Government’s payroll.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
Shehu said some of the suspects involved in the ghost workers scam were already undergoing trial.
He explained that the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance created by the present administration was able to uncover the 50,000 ghost workers and saved the nation of N13bn monthly during the year.
Shehu said the amount was taken off the government’s payroll from February to December.
The presidential spokesman said, “The flagship programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course.
“Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments.
“When the committee was constituted in February 2016, the Federal Government’s monthly salary bill was N151bn excluding pensions.
“Now, the monthly salary warrant is N138bn, excluding pensions, which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about N13bn. That is from February 2016 to date.”
Shehu added that the pension bill which was N15.5bn monthly as of February had been reduced to N14.4bn.
He said the government was making an average monthly saving of about N1.1bn on the pension bill.
Shehu also allayed the fears of many members of the ruling All Progressives Congress concerning board appointments.
He assured the agitated members that the process would be fully back on track at the beginning of 2017.
He said, “You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector to sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the New Year. The President has given directions on what to do.”
On the agricultural programmes of the administration, Shehu said the President’s persistent call for a return to farming was yielding good results.
He added, “The talk about agriculture has driven people to the farm. This year, there is a huge boom in the rural economy. We have witnessed an excellent harvest. Farmers are getting value for their output.
“What has encouraged the farmers the more is the increasing availability of extension services. New farming techniques are helping farmers to do their occupation better.”