Biometric system cuts ghost worker numbers in Nigeria’s Delta State Biometric system cuts ghost worker numbers in Nigeria’s Delta State

Biometric system cuts ghost worker numbers in Nigeria’s Delta State
23 Apr 2018

The number of staff on the payroll of Nigeria’s Delta State Civil Service Commission has fallen from more than 65,000 to just 47,697 following the introduction of a biometric system.

According to the New Telegraph, shortly after taking office, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa raised the alarm about the situation and requested an investigation, pointing out that the monthly wage of state workers was more than N7 billion (US$19 million). He queried why a state that was struggling to meet its payroll obligations should start hiring workers and cancelled the recruitment of about 3,000 new staff.

State commissioner for information Patrick Ukah said a biometric system was key in helping to cut the number of bogus workers.

"We inherited the ongoing biometric exercise," he said. "It was not designed to witch-hunt any worker but to determine the total number of genuine workers on the payroll of the state and fish out ghost workers."

Ukah rejected speculation that the N5,000 (US$13.88) being paid to 5,500 widows came down to political patronage, saying it was simply intended to improve their living conditions.

He added that the governor had already redesigned the framework for disbursing soft loans to women traders through the state’s micro-credit scheme and had offset the salary arrears of retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Emma Wool

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

The number of staff on the payroll of Nigeria’s Delta State Civil Service Commission has fallen from more than 65,000 to just 47,697 following the introduction of a biometric system.

According to the New Telegraph, shortly after taking office, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa raised the alarm about the situation and requested an investigation, pointing out that the monthly wage of state workers was more than N7 billion (US$19 million). He queried why a state that was struggling to meet its payroll obligations should start hiring workers and cancelled the recruitment of about 3,000 new staff.

State commissioner for information Patrick Ukah said a biometric system was key in helping to cut the number of bogus workers.

"We inherited the ongoing biometric exercise," he said. "It was not designed to witch-hunt any worker but to determine the total number of genuine workers on the payroll of the state and fish out ghost workers."

Ukah rejected speculation that the N5,000 (US$13.88) being paid to 5,500 widows came down to political patronage, saying it was simply intended to improve their living conditions.

He added that the governor had already redesigned the framework for disbursing soft loans to women traders through the state’s micro-credit scheme and had offset the salary arrears of retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Emma Wool

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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