FG SAVES N2.293BN MONTHLY, REMOVES 23,846 NON-EXISTENT WORKERS FROM PAYROLL
Through the ongoing BVN-based staff audit and enrolment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Federal Government has removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll.Consequently, the salary bill for February 2016 has reduced by N2.293 billion when compared to December 2015 at which time the BVN audit process commenced.
According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, this figure represents a percentage of the number of non-existent workers who had hitherto been receiving salary from various ministries, departments and agencies. It was further explained that the investigation of other suspected cases continues in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Federal Government is also taking actions to pursue recovery of salary balances in bank accounts as well as any pension contributions in respect of the deleted workers. This involves active collaboration with the concerned banks and the National Pension Commission (Pencom).
The Ministry noted that the Military Pension Board has revised the amount payable for its due pension contributions on a monthly basis by N575m, following its annual verification exercise for military retirees. This reduced the number of pensioners by 19,203 as a result of deaths since the last verification exercise in 2012. The Federal Government, in its efforts to reduce personnel cost, is determined to continue the verification programme on a regular periodic basis.
Due to the fact that personnel costs represent over 40 per cent of total government expenditure, the Ministry explained that the Federal Government would continue to strengthen its payroll controls. It plans to undertake periodic checks and to utilise Computer Assisted Audit Techniques under its new Continuous Audit Programme. This will ensure that all payments are accurate and valid. Requirements for new entrants joining the Federal Civil Service have also been enhanced to prevent the introduction of fictitious employees in future.
The ongoing exercise, which is part of the cost-saving and anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, is key to funding the deficit in the 2016 budget, as savings made will ultimately reduce the amount to be borrowed.
However, reacting to the recent call by the leadership of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) that the panel members investigating the cases of indicted civil servants be drawn from both government and labour, the Ministry explained that the request could not be acceded to, as the investigations were of a criminal nature and would therefore be handled by the appropriate investigative agencies.
Note to Editors
The Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a number that uniquely identifies each bank’s customer for “Know Your Customer” (KYC) purposes.
According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, the strategy of using BVNs, rather than requiring the physical presence of each member of staff for biometric capture at the initial stage of verification, has significantly simplified and accelerated the progress of the payroll audit process and reduced the cost of implementation.
With the adoption of the BVN platform to audit and sanitise the salary payment system, the Ministry has so far checked the details of about 312,000 civil servants currently enrolled on IPPIS, a development said to have led to the discovery of a high level of irregularities in salary payment.
In some instances, the exercise showed that the names of some civil servants whose salaries are being processed are not consistent with the names linked to the accounts into which their salaries are paid. Individuals in this category are therefore either receiving salary payments from multiple sources (which could be different parastatals for example), or they are non-existent workers.