We are losing N19.3m monthly to ghost workers ― Ekiti govt
The committee set up by the Ekiti State government on local government staff verification has revealed that the state is losing the sum of N19.3 million monthly to ghost workers across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The amount represents salaries and emoluments drawn monthly by 362 ghost workers discovered in the just concluded verification exercise, according to the report submitted by the committee to the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The state government had earlier in the year set up an 11-member committee and seven-member subcommittee to investigate the issue of ghost workers in a bid to block financial loopholes in the local government system.
The Co-Chairman of the Committee and Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Professor Adio Folayan, who spoke on behalf of the committee disclosed that the 362 absentees (workers) were discovered on the payroll of the local government service after thorough screening and verification.
He said the committee recommended that all illegal salary earned by the affected workers should be deducted from their pension and gratuity and subsequently prosecuted for fraud with their accomplices.
The Commissioner directed the councils’ Heads of Department to enforce discipline while the practice of giving schedules of duties to their officers should be adopted so that errant officers would be punished for any infraction.
Governor Fayemi while thanking the committee for the professional manner it handled the exercise, promised to study the reports as well as the recommendations.
The governor said the bulk of the money accrued to the state coffers goes into payment of salaries and emolument, adding that the government had to look for creative ways to ensure the provision of amenities such as good roads, improved education system, better health care services, safe environment and empowerment.
He said the money recovered into the state coffer from the ghost workers would be used to attend to other government obligations to workers in the state.
Fayemi said, “This is a matter we need to look into, you can’t sit in Lagos and be earning salaries in Ekiti for work you have not done. But it is our duty to stop that from happening, it is not the duty of the person that is cheating the system.
“The resources available to us is limited, we all know this, some pretend not to know but anyone that has limited knowledge of government finances will know that already we spent a bulk of what comes to this state on emolument and we have many people who are not public servants or political appointees, yet they too expect that the government will touch their lives.
“The only way we can touch their lives is to fix the road in their community, improve on their schools and their health facilities and that would provide empowerment for them in their community if we can’t find money to do that.
“After this exercise the Committee said they saved N19.2M on a monthly basis, imagine where that will go. That will build two schools conveniently of the type that we have just built. It will meet the obligations that we have to workers in certain areas that are in dire needs of recruitment of workers whether they are health workers or teachers.
“I want to commend you and the chairman of Local Government Service Commission and the entire members, I am glad that NULGE was part of this, I am particularly happy that you included NULGE in the process. It is in the overall interest of the workers”, the governor added.
Stressing that government has a duty to block all financial leakages in the system, the governor instructed the Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babfemi to use her experience in supporting the Local Government Service Commission in ensuring improved consistency in their payrolls.