The introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government has so far led to the discovery of 46,821 ghost workers and saved the nation N118.9 billion.
This is even as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has attributed the low revenue by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to the federal government’s deliberate policy to cut down on the importation of rice and other staple food items with a view to boosting local production.
She also declared that contrary to misconceptions in some quarters, a higher growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the fulcrum on which inclusive growth in economy revolves.
Okonjo-Iweala, who presented her ministry’s scorecard alongside her Minister of State counterpart, Dr. Yerima Ngama, at the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja, Monday, said IPPIS had enhanced efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting.
She added that personnel cost is now based on actual verified numbers and not estimates.
She explained that 215 MDAs, with a total workforce of 153,019 staff, were on IPPIS as at January 2013, and 46,821 of them where discovered to be ghost workers. This is a slight rise in the figure of ghost workers in the Federal Civil Service which stood at 43,000 as at 2011. She said the discovery of the ghost workers led to the savings of N118.9 billion from the wage bill, while work is ongoing to bring in other 321 MDAs not yet on the IPPIS to the platform.
She also disclosed that Customs’ revenue this year, has not been as high as expected so far due to the policy of government to drastically cut down on the importation of rice and depend more on local production.
The minister noted that some importers had also imported and stockpiled rice towards the end of last year in anticipation of government’s policy on rice importation.
According to her, with government’s aggressive policy on local rice production, which will now free the huge resources used for imports into boosting domestic production and ultimately stimulating the overall economy, the country would be the better for it.
The minister stated that the government had embarked on a concerted effort to drive down recurrent expenditure, adding that recurrent expenditure had dropped from 74.4 per cent of total budget in 2011 to 68.7 per cent in 2013.
The minister, who brought cakes to fault to claims in some quarters that GDP growth is not what the country needs but visible economic indicators, described GDP as the fulcrum in which real growth revolves.
She caused a stir at the press briefing when she presented three sponge cakes and used them to educate the people on the country’s GDP growth.
Starting with the smallest cake with figurines on it, she explained the federal government’s growth plan, illustrating it with the example of a family that has just the cake to feed on.
“Having this cake does not mean that every problem in your household is solved. With one wife and three children, you are going to be suffering. Of course, you want this cake to grow,” she said.