By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
LAGOS — Former Minister of Finance who has been reappointed minister, Dr Olusegun Aganga, weekend, disclosed that about 43,000 ghost workers were on the payroll of Ministries, Department and Agencies, MDAs, of the Federal Government before the last cabinet was dissolved.
He said as a result of the biometric audit of 36 MDAs, the Federal Ministry of Finance fished out the names of former employees of the Federal Government who were either retired or dead but were still receiving salaries, thus adding to the cost of governance in the country.
He said the number of employees taking monthly pay in the said MDAs was 112,000 but after the biometrics it dropped by 43,000 to 69,000 employees. Although he did not give details of the amount saved, he said the biometric system introduced by the ministry had within one year saved government a lot of money and that it has been done for 36 MDAs of the Federal Government.
Aganga, who spoke to journalists in Lagos, weekend, shortly after receiving the Young Men’s Christian Association, YMCA, award for exemplary public office life, said feat in tha MDAs was achieved through the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
He also called for a national re-orientation programme to restore lost values and tackle corruption. He said the country had to trim its personnel cost, which formed a major part of the unnecessary costs distorting the country’s expenditure pattern.
Aganga noted that personnel cost increased from N850 billion to N1.3 trillion between 2009 and 2010, adding that with the implementation of the IPPIS in 36 MDAs, it was discovered that 43,000 people should not have been on the government’s payroll.
According to him, the implementation of the IPPIS in the 36 MDAs had been divided into three phases and that the first phase, which covered seven MDAs, saved the country over N12 billion.
According to the minister, whose new portfolio has not been officially announced, the second and third phases will cover 11 and 18 MDAs respectively. He said: “We had to take action to reduce the overhead cost. That was why we introduced the IPPIS, where you take workers’ ‘bio-data.’”
N34trn for infrastructure
He said in the next four years Nigeria needs N34 trillion to invest in infrastructure, stating that the government is expected to finance infrastructure to the tune of N10 trillion, state governments, N9 trillion, private sector, N15 trillion.
Aganga further said in the last 10 years, the government had been running a deficit budget and borrowing heavily from the domestic money market, thus denying the private sector access to funding. He said at the moment, the Federal Government borrowing from the domestic market had risen to about $37 billion while external debt is just about N5.2 billion.
He said the Federal Government was working very hard to address all of these issues in the budget as it would soon present a revenue bill to the National Assembly to ensure that MDAs remit 80 per cent of their operating surpluses to the federation account.
He said government would soon introduce the multi-year budgetary system in which projects spending will be spread over several years in the construction of such projects, adding that this will reduce the pressure on available resources. He said there are over 700 uncompleted projects handled by various MDAs, blaming the problem on lack of continuity in policy