The Nigerian government has announced its plans to recover all pension payment made to ‘ghost workers’ on its payroll.
The minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, made this known in a Facebook Live session on Monday.
Mrs. Adeosun said the finance ministry, in collaboration with the National Pension Commission, is set to recover the pensions so far paid into the Retirement Savings Accounts of the identified ghost workers.
She disclosed that about 53,000 ghost workers had so far been removed from the Federal Government payroll.
“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit came in so that they can check the payroll and make sure that we pay the right amount and ghost workers do not exist; there is no fraud and that there is no error in the payroll,” the minister said.
“We have removed 53,000 people from the payroll and we are working with PenCom to recover some of the pensions because the problem with these ghost salary earners is that not only are we paying their salaries, we are also paying pensions.
“So, we are trying to recover some of the overpaid pensions from some of the people we have removed from the payroll.”
The minister noted that before the commencement of the continuous audit initiative, the wage bill of the government was put at about N165 billion monthly.
But the government was spending N16 billion each on pensions and overheads monthly, she said, noting that a total of about N200 billion was being expended monthly on recurrent items.
“So, we set a priority that we need to control this,” Mrs. Adeosun noted.
“It’s a continuous battle and the real thing is that we are using technology to make sure we are paying people using the biometric system, which ensures that you cannot get two salaries and ensures that the number of personnel is the same as the number on the payroll,” she added.
The minister, however, disclosed that the government’s focus is to get as many agencies and individuals as possible on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System platform, IPPIS, which, she said, would assist the government to bring down its wage bill.
“The moment we finish with the police , we will move on to the military and then the prisons and immigration and other agencies like that,” she said.