The adoption of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has enabled the government to nab over 60,000 ghost workers. Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo disclosed this at the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade lecture held in Lagos this Thursday. Here are key points from his speech at the event:
- 60,000 ghost workers have been uncovered since the introduction of BVN.
- 20,000 government bank accounts had been closed.
- Adoption of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made government accounts tidy.
- Members of the armed forces have been integrated into the electronic payroll.
Cost savings from these measures will enable the government have more revenue for critical areas such as education, health and infrastructure. The government must go beyond reeling out facts and figures, to charging these ghost workers to court and pursuing the cases to a logical conclusion. The civil servants who colluded with them, must also face the heat. Naming, shaming and blacklisting of these individuals from working for in the civil service, will serve as a huge deterrent to others.
Without this, few years down the line, ghost workers will once again appear on the payroll. State and local governments should also adopt BVN as a form of worker verification. Fighting corruption was one of the cardinal points on which the Buhari administration campaigned during the 2015 elections.
In July 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in conjunction with the Bankers Committee launched the Biometric Identification project which culminated in every bank customer having a unique Bank Verification Number. The project was part of the apex bank’s financial inclusion policy and its goal of having a single database for all bank customers. As at October 2015, over 20.8 million Nigerians had enrolled for the BVN scheme.