Ten Thousand Ghost Workers Removed From Govt Payroll But Who Has Been Squandering The Money?
21 December 2020
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Paul Nyathi

At least 10 000 suspected ghost workers have been struck off the Government payroll after a biometric registration exercise as the Second Republic walks the talk on its reforms aimed at restoring order in the civil service.

A ghost worker is an unknown and unaccounted for employee who draws wages and benefits from the state.

The eliminated names are of those whose biometric data was non-compliant under the exercise that was assisted by the World Bank.

During last week’s workshop for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, the PSC and the Apex Council grouping staff associations, PSC head of human capital development and management, Mr Moses Mhike, said the exercise of flushing out ghost workers was continuous.

“Ghost workers are no longer an issue. We have managed to account for those on the Salary Service Bureau,” he said.

“We conducted a biometric exercise to get the data of all civil servants and comparing with the Registrar’s office. We realised that about 10 000 were not biometric compliant and traced them at each and every work station.”

PSC Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said the PSC simply eliminated ghost workers by withdrawing salaries to those who were non-complaint to the biometric exercise.

“We made sure that we stopped paying those non complaint and only the legitimate ones came forward. However, the exercise should be an ongoing thing,” he said.

The biometric registration was implemented with the assistance of the World Bank as part of efforts to weed out ghost workers and modernise management of the civil service.

In a 2019 Audit Report, government lost in excess of US$4 million through payment of ghost workers not through the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) but via line ministries’ payrolls.

According to the report, the Local Government and Lands Ministries topped the list of those fleeced the most through amounts of US$1,889,899 and US$1,656,966 respectively.

SSB records indicate employment costs of US$1,059,163,623 against 10 ministries’ US$1,055,828,763 wage bill.

Other ministries implicated are; Labour (US$122,334), Health (US$1,283,704), Home Affairs (US$282,788), Higher and Tertiary Education (US$75,394), Industry and Commerce (US$583,994), Public Service (US$431,268), Energy (US$16,107) and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission at US$16,553.

Government has over the past three years been battling the effects of ghost workers on its expenditure.