Kogi loses N16bn annually to ghost workers

The Kogi State screening committee set up to screen local and state government workers has disclosed that the state has been losing N16 billion annually to ghost workers on the payrolls of the two tiers of government.

This was just as the committee also revealed that it discovered 18,211 ghost workers during the exercis which commenced in February following its inauguration.

The state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, however, said he would not set up any committee for the disbursement of the bailout fund as demanded by the organised labour in the state.

The chairman of the back-up committee for the analysis of the screening, who is also the state Auditor General, Mr Yusuf Okala, who made the disclosure at the presentation of the report of the committee, explained that about 88, 973 people were on the payrolls as of the time the screening exercise commenced with a monthly wage bill of N5.84 billion.

He, however, said upon the conclusion of the screening exercise 63,870 workers were cleared, reducing the wage bill to N4.443 billion.

The development, he said, showed that N1.365 billion was being paid to ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries every month.

According to Okala, the exercise showed a loss of N213.034 billion in the last 13 years to non-existing workers.

He added that the screening exercise showed that the people in this category included those offered employment before the creation of Kogi State, diaspora workers, non-existing workers, double/multiple employment, among others.

The Auditor General said the committee screened workers in state ministry, department and agency, local government departments, local government education authorities, state and local government pensioners.

He noted that the exercise was not completely perfect as there was infiltration by the organised labour with the intention of embarrassing the state government.

Okala also said the committee had recommended that those found culpable in the looting of the state through ghost workers syndrome should be prosecuted.

Speaking after the presentation of the report, the governor said his government would not rest until ghost workers were completely removed from its payroll, assuring that the funds of the state that was carted away would be recovered.

The governor said it would be unfair to spend the state’s resources on only two per cent of its population, saying “we are putting a permanent end to ghost workers syndrome.”