Nigeria uses biometric data and bank verification numbers to remove 24,000 ghost workers from government payroll

Nigeria’s government has removed almost 24,000 non-existent or ‘ghost’ workers from its state payroll by auditing biometric data and bank verification numbers (BVN) to identify holders of bank accounts into which salaries were being paid.

According to Festus Akanbi, special adviser to Nigeria’s finance minister Kemi Adeosun, 23,846 nonexistent workers were removed from the government payroll, resulting in a monthly saving of 2.29 billion naira ($11.5 million USD).

The audit identified that the names of some civil servants receiving a salary did not correspond to the names linked to the bank accounts and in some cases, individuals were receiving salaries from multiple sources.

Akanbi said that 312,000 civil servants had been checked to date and that the ministry would now carry out “periodic checks and utilize computer-assisted audit techniques” in an effort to crack down on corruption in the public sector.

Wages and other personnel costs represent 40 percent of total government expenditure, according to a Finance Ministry statement reported by Reuters.

Akanbi said the ministry was working with the financial crimes agency and the National Pension Commission to identify irregularities and recover salaries and pension contributions related to the deleted workers.

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