© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
13 years after, govt agencies yet to fully implement transparent payroll system
THIRTEEN years after the Federal Government initiated the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), some Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government have refused to implement the initiative meant to promote transparency in public service.
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, on Friday threatened the erring ministries, departments and agencies to transit to the IPPIS or face consequences.
The payment system was conceived through the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in partnership with the World Bank in 2006 and commenced officially the following year.
The ICIR gathered it is meant to improve efficiency in public service personnel records, put a stop to file-based workforce system which had led to the prevalence of ghost workers, with fraudulent civil servants collecting salaries of non-existing workers.
Based on a joint assessment by the World Bank and federal government, the nation was losing estimated N1 billion annually to ghost workers.
The BPSR also identified cases of public servants receiving salaries from multiple establishments, “some officers conniving with others to get paid higher salaries than were due to them, and records of loans obtained from government routinely disappearing from files.”
However, since 2006, when the pilot project was financed by the World Bank, some MDAs are still reluctant to comply with the new payment system.
The system was piloted in 2007 in seven MDAs including Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Transportation (Works arm), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget Office of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Planning Commission.
Prior to the project, The ICIR, gathered that nominal rolls of the seven MDAs were 55, 000, thus World Bank secured 55, 000 licenses but after full enrolment into the IPPIS, it was revealed that the real staff strength of the seven MDAs was just 32, 000.
As a result, in July 2009, extra 11 MDAs were included to augment the initial 55, 000 licenses purchased by the World Bank.
There are Federal Ministry of Transport, Health, Agriculture and Water Resources, Aviation, Petroleum Resources and Federal Civil Service Commission. Other Federal Ministries are Works (Housing & Urban Development), Information (Communication), Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Within the first year, the federal government saved N416 million and at the end of the first phase in 2010, IPPIS had saved a total of N12 billion.
The BPSR added that, as of 2014, the federal government had saved N185 billion. “The scheme now covers 359 MDAs and has successfully enrolled 237,917 members of staff and weeded out 60,450 ‘ghost workers’,” it stated.
By April 2016, 37, 395 ghost workers had been discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Two years after, the number of ghost workers had increased to 62,000 people. In the Police, about 80, 000 of fake officers were also discovered.
Idris, in a statement, disclosed this while meeting the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Abubakar Adamu, who visited him at the Treasury House in Abuja. He restated commitment to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the IPPIS is complied with.
The statement signed by Oise Johnson, Head Press and Public Relations (OAGF) applauded the Police for complying with the directive of the president.
“The Nigerian police have been fully integrated into the IPPIS platform and their successful enrolment has paved way for the enrolment of the Nigeria Military, which has further demonstrated the robustness of the platform and our avowed commitment to a transparent, accountable and efficient management of the Nation’s funds in line with global best practice.”
The AGF recognised security roles the Nigeria Police stressing the need for steady funding for the security operatives.
Adamu, in his remarks, described the relationship between the Nigerian Police and the OAGF as “a very strategic partnership in the business of policing the nation”.
Based on information from the official portal of the IPPIS, 490 MDAs including the Nigeria Police and other paramilitary agencies have been enrolled into the system with total staff strength of over 700,000 employees, as at April 2018.