By EMMA UJAH, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF
ABUJA — The Federal Government has saved about N119 billion from ghost workers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed this while inaugurating the implementation committee of the system in Abuja, yesterday
She said the implementation of the IPPIS will “enhance efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting as personnel cost will be based on actual verified numbers and not estimates”.
Under the IPPIS, workers’ salaries are paid centrally from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, into individual workers’ accounts, as opposed to the former practice under which estimated staff salaries were released to MDAs and the organisations paid the individual workers.
That system gave room to a large army of ghost workers in the MDAs such that a total of 46, 000 names on the payroll, representing close to one out of three workers in the organisations so far covered were ghost workers
According to Dr. Okonjo-Iewala, 215 Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, with a total staff strength of 153, 019 have been captured on the IPPIS.
Under the system, each Federal Government staff’s biometric data is captured to enable the implementation officers determine who really is a staff, while names whose bearers fail to present themselves for verification are considered those being used by pay officers to defraud the government.
The minister said the new committee with the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama, as Chairman would fast-track the process of bringing the remaining 321 federal MDAs on the system, with the hope that the problem of ghost workers would be addressed effectively at the federal level.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also charged the Ngama-led committee to speed up work on the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System, GIFMIS, under which Federal Government acquisition, allocation, utilization and conservation of public financial resources is automated and integrated.
She disclosed that 58 per cent of the budget was already being executed through GIFMIS, adding that the volume of government activities captured under the system would have risen to 79 per cent by the end of the third quarter.
On the refusal of some MDAs to remit 25 per cent of their gross revenue to the coffers of the Federal Government as directed, the minister revealed that her team has recovered about N34 billion out of the outstanding N58 billion.
She insisted that further measures were being adopted to ensure the recovery of their funds .
The AGF, Mr. Jonah Otunla, disclosed that until the commencement of the GIFMIS in April last year, there was a preponderance of MDAs accounts across various banks in the country and that managing Federal Government’s finances was very difficult.
According to him, there were situations where government was even borrowing its own money from the system, especially as there was a disparity in terms of idle funds of low spending MDAs as opposed to their high spending counterparts.
He said some government officials were reluctant to buy into the new system of administering government funds from a central focal point but that there was no going back on the initiative which has reduced government’s borrowing from about N154 billion to only N20 billion.
Other members of the committee were: Messrs Otunla, Faouk Gumel, Bizmark Rewane, Tunde Kehinde of duniya.com and Angela Adeboye.