Dr. Joe Abah, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), says the Federal Government has saved over N185 billion since the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Abah said this while presenting the “Status Report of Reforms” at a five-day Specialised Reforms/SERVICOM Training Programme in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said a lot of remarkable reforms had taken place in the civil service, including removal of 65,000 ghost workers from IPPIS.
“We started off with a completely inaccurate and unreliable payroll system. Since we put IPPIS in 2007, government has saved in the region of N185 billion and weeded 65,000 ghost workers.
Recently, the Work Efficiently Unit has seen the identification of another 23,000 people that were collecting multiple salaries.
IPPIS has been a great success but it has some challenges and it has some weakness.
One of the weaknesses is that as soon as BPSR put in place IPPIS after piloting it for a couple of years, it was basically taken over by accountants and they started with payroll instead with the HCSC – Head of Civil Service Commission.
It is possible to get on the payroll without being known by the Federal Civil Service Commission that is why we still have issue with IPPIS but we are working on that and we hoping that complete HCSC switch will come on board in July,” he said.
He said that BPSR was also working with the Efficient Unit to ensure that the salaries were linked with the Bank Verification Numbers.
Abah said that the civil servants shouldn’t allow people to accuse them of not doing well, saying that some of the reforms were working in spite of challenges.
He said one of the reforms that had also worked in the civil service was the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“Before 2004, if you retire; you will be entitle to a pension whether you actually get it, it is another matter because at 2004, we had Pension deficit of N43 billion.
So, the reality is that you could retire but wait for 10 years and you will actually not see the Contributory Pension Scheme; our pension pot is now credit of N4.8 trillion as at 2015.
However, there are still challenges – we are still not managing our PFA – Pension Funds Administrators very well.
There is still a big gap between when you retire and actually when you start to get a Pension sometimes a gap of about nine months – that is still a gap, we still need deal with,” Abah said.
Abah further said that in terms of procurement, government was losing 10 billion dollars annually as result of fraudulent procurement practices.
He said of every one Naira you spend, 60 Kobo went into fraud.
According to him, since putting in place Procurement Act in 2007, the government has saved more than N650 billion.
He, however, said that there were issues with what was provided in terms of budget and what was released, which made procurement planning a little difficult.
“You don’t know when the release of fund will come; you don’t know whether is coming in full or not, it is difficult to plan your procurement properly. There is still challenge with contract splitting that we need to deal with in procurement.”