Biometrics data used to eliminate ghost workers from Abia government payroll

In an effort to eliminate ghost workers and centralize the government payroll, Abia, a state in south eastern Nigeria, recently undertook a biometric identity verification exercise with the government workforce to find exactly how many workers it has and how many are entitled to receive salaries.

According to a report in Business Day, this represents about 80 percent of the entire Abia workforce.

The Commissioner for Finance explained, “There was no harmonized central system of salary payment in the State. This gave the payroll officers huge leverage to manipulate the system and the result, leading to unprecedented salary padding, lack of unified salary structure and an explosion of ghost workers.”

To stop this activity, the government relieved the payroll officers of that assignment and “conducted biometrics in the work force. We wanted to know exactly how many workers we have and how many are entitled to receive salaries. The report is almost ready but reliable reports from field operations show (that) out of a total of 22,103 workers, 18,971 workers showed up for the exercise. They are the ones we refer to as active employees. 3,132 are branded inactive employees. They didn’t come for the exercise. We don’t want to brand them ghost workers yet until the official report of the biometrics is submitted to government. 529 people, who, from official records, should have retired some years ago, remain at work and drawing salaries every month. We also discovered that hundreds of workers, who took study leave without pay, somehow end up getting paid over the years.”

Just last month, Bio-Metrica revealed that it has deployed its modular, multi-factor biometric census registration system in a pilot project for Nigeria’s upcoming 2018 population census.

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