6th July, 2011
A ministerial nominee and former Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, has said the federal civil service was discovered to have up to 43,000 ghost workers, which cost the government billions of naira every year.
Aganga, who was this afternoon screened by the Senate, explained that the government discovered this anomaly after it conducted a biometric auditing of the ministries, government agencies and parastatals.
Aganga, while explaining the reason for the increase in domestic debt and the huge allocation for servicing of the debt, said the country spent more on recurrent expenditure including payment of salaries to both serving and retired staff as well as office holders. Because of this, he said, the government had to resort to borrowing in order to solve the challenges of infrastructure.
According to him, government is doing its best to increase the revenue base of the country as it had posed a major challenge to the development of the country over time.
The former minister who backed his responses to questions by the senators with figures, further stressed that the government was blocking revenue leakages as well as doing everything possible to reduce the number of Nigerians who do not pay tax.
He said government had completed the auditing of ministries, agencies and parastatals adding that remittance from the Nigeria Customs Service is now N60 billion as against the N28 billion it remitted to the government in the past.
The ministerial nominee, whose appointment was later confirmed by the Senate, also lamented that the federal government had a lot of uncompleted projects adding that a particular ministry, which he did not mention, had 700 of such uncompleted projects.
He maintained that a solution to the problems of such uncompleted projects is to begin a multi-budgetary system, which would make the implementation of the project run for years rather than getting them abandoned mid-way.
Aganga, who demonstrated a thorough grasp of the enormous challenges facing the country, put the unemployment rate at 21 per cent of the population and added that 80 per cent of the unemployed population was between 15 and 44 years with many of them only having secondary school certificates.
By Eromosele Ebhomele