High among the problems bedeviling Nigeria’s public service is the scourge of ghost workers. The problem is now a national crisis and a huge drain on the national economy. In a nation where personnel costs represent forty percent of government’s total recurrent expenditure, bilking of government via ghost workers constitutes a chunky p
Amidst the budget padding brouhaha, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun revealed that 23,000 ghost workers were detected in the federal bureaucracy — the so-called Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). That number is certainly preliminary, since it’s far lower than the 62,893 revealed by erstwhile Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a few years back. The ghost worker scourge is huge and related statistics alarming. Recent ghost workers discoveries within the states include, Plateau 5,000; Kano 8,000; Anambra 850; Kebbi 9,300; Osun 71; and Niger 7000. By extrapolation, the remaining thirty states could easily have between 100,000 to 151,000 ghost workers. Prevailing figuresind
Ghost workers essentially represent dysfunctionality in governance. The ghost workers problem, which ought to be an aberration in any proper self-accounting and self-auditing bureaucratic system, is now a national scourge that warrants urgent remedial measures. A ghost worker is a payroll personality, not actually employed by the paying public service institution. Ghost workers exist as a person or only in name. Ghost workers disenfranchise other Nigerians by collecting wages and entitlements not due to them. Some are double dippers, who do one job but collect wages at two pay points.
Ghost workers exist because every bureaucracy creates its own weaknesses. This is not peculiar to Nigeria. Evidence points to high occurrence of ghost workers in Third World countries. In 2014, Kenya discovered 12,000 ghost workers on its payroll; mainly person who continued to receive salaries after leaving government service. In 2015, Cameroon identified 10,000 ghost workers within its 220,000 civil service cadre that cost the government $12million monthly. In Yemen using a biometric system, the government detected 5,875 ghost workers in a 485,818 work force. In Nigeria ghost workers run in the hundreds of thousands, because of willful and complicit phantom paymasters. What was once an aberration resulting from minor personnel or accounting errors is now a scam that exploits lax oversight and weak enforcement of extant public service rules and regulations.
The ghost worker scourge is fiscal. The motivation is greed. Those who orchestrate ghost workers merely tap into the seemingly depthless resources of the government. Most State budgets like the federal budget are frontloaded with re
The attendant cost of ghost workers to the Nigerian taxpayer is mindboggling. The federal
Tackling problem source
Transparency and Accountability remain essential to solving ghost worker challenges and caging the problem. Without question, fraudulent acts by most ghost workers originate with payroll personnel. Since ghost salaries results from manipulation of payroll technology, blocking such pilfering will require blocking prospective technolog
The problem of ghost workers is essentially dual-tracked; identifying correctly those who collect wages for work done and those who collect wages for work not done, or exist in the workforce only in name. The solution is surprisingly simple but requires drastic
Obaze, MD/CEO of Selonnes Consult, is a strategic public policy adviser, consultant and immediate past Secretary to the Anambra State Government.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.