DAR ES SALAAM, Wednesday
The Tanzanian government has paid over TSh7.5 billion (Sh387m) of taxpayers’ money to 7,795 ghost workers in the local government since January, a Cabinet minister revealed on Tuesday.
Deputy minister of State in the President’s Office (Public Service Management and Good Governance) Angela Kairuki said the ongoing drive to identify phantom workers has detected 7,795 since January to April 3.
She told journalists that reports compiled from Regional Commissioners (RC) shows 4, 317 of the phantom workers were detected between March 1 and April 04.
According to the minister, the number drastically shot from mid last month following a directive from President John Magufuli during the swearing-in of RCs that all local authorities must eliminate phantom workers.
The president gave the RCs two weeks until the end of March.
Ms Kairuki said her office has directed central government institutions to file reports on detected ghost workers. The institution was conducting a parallel exercise with local government.
The minister said President Magufuli’s government was in the right track to implement recommendations of the Controller and Auditors General (CAG) reports.
The CAG, Prof Mussa Assad said when presenting the 2013/2014 financial year report in parliament in March last year that billions of taxpayers’ money were being paid to ghost workers.
On Tuesday, the deputy minister said 3,033 ghost workers detected in March alone cost the government TSh2.868 billion in salaries.
Ms Kairuki said authorities discovered 1,691 ghost workers for the period from April 1 to 04. She said they caused a TSh1.458 billion loss.
According to the deputy minister, Sh 1.5 billion was paid to 1,450 ghost workers discovered in January alone.
Over 1,620 fake workers were identified and removed from the government payroll in February.
“If you look at the trend, the number went up in March. There is no doubt it is the direct impact the president’s directive to RCs in March,” she said.
She added: “We hope by end of this month the number will be much higher because this is a continuous exercise” said the minister.
In the same vein, the government has directed local authorities to postpone payroll for April to 12 instead of 5th to enable public service officers in the regions to hunt for more ghost workers.
“We expect no more ghost workers in the April payroll,” she said.
She said the government will conduct audit at all public institutions in regions to check compliance of the president’s order. “Any officer who fails to adhere to governments’ instructions will be held accountable,” she said.
The government spends about TSh5.5 trillion annually on salaries. The amount is equivalent to 51 per cent of the country’s revenues.
The minister revealed that the health and education sector topped the list of institutions harbouring more ghost workers.
She said since 2012, the government started using the Human Capital Management Information System (HCMIS) that enables officers to eliminate workers who do not qualify to remain in the payroll.
Before adoption of the HCMIS the government trained over 1,500 officers who have taken charge in their respective regions and that the ongoing job to identify and eliminated ghost workers is done professionally by competent people.