22nd May, 2016
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has expressed anger at the ‘ghost workers’ syndrome in the civil service and vowed to sanitise the system.
The governor who was speaking at a forum organized by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja expressed his hatred for some priviledged civil servants who have more than one account in order to cheat the government.
“I hate paying money to people who are not in existence when others are outside who would have been engaged to work do not have the opportunity to work,” he stated.
He expressed his administration’s determination to slash the state’s N1.7 billion wage bill before the end of May, this year.
Lalong said that the reduction of the wage bill would be achieved through the removal of ghost workers already uncovered in the state’s payroll system.
The governor revealed further that a lot of the ghost workers were uncovered after the introduction of the Biometric Verification Number.
He said that with the removal of the non-existent workers, the N1.7 billion state’s wage bill would be slashed to accommodate the genuine civil servants in the state.
“Part of the fraud that you are seeing is with the civil servants themselves, the concept of ghost workers, I saw that in my state.
“We have introduced the BVN and as I am talking now, even before the final report is given to me, the interim report has already been given to me, showing a lot of ghost workers in the state.
“So, we are saving cost, we are going to save cost, at the end of the day, when we have the actual number, we will make it known.
“It is already established from the interim report that they have done, there are a lot of ghost workers on the Plateau.
“If we are able to sanitise the place, we would definitely also block leakages, so that is saving money for the state: the salary may not be N1.7 billion again when they finish.
The governor recalled that past administrations had introduced various biometric exercises aimed at weeding ghost workers but ended up with the same N1.7 billion wage bill after spending government funds.
He said that the non-payment of salaries during the past administration was attributed to the conduct of the biometric exercise to ascertain the number of genuine civil servants in the state.
He said that part of the fraud and corruption in the state was attributable to the civil service which informed the introduction of the BVN to fish out all the fraudulent officials.
“I had one case, although we are still investigating, one person that had more than 1000 accounts in the name of teachers, that is under investigation.
“So from the BVN, I also saw staggering revelations, I will see one person, the same person, one finger print but different accounts.
“That is why I always thank Mr President for standing on that, when you have a leader that is trusted , that is honest, you would see things flowing on their own, so we are copying from there.
“I am hoping that even before the end of my one year in office, we would finish that BVN and Plateau people will know the actual wage bill that they have.
“Maybe, they will also have opportunity to engage or employ people in the state.”
The Federal Government has also slashed its wage bill after it successfully removed over 23,000 ghost workers from its payroll using BVN database.