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Nigeria’s Federal Government has succeeded in trimming its payroll by another 50,000 “ghost workers”, saving the country 200 billion Naira (about 657 million US doillars) in the last 11 months, says a presidential aide.

Addressing State House correspondents at a year-end function here Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant for Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said 11 persons championing the syndicate of “ghost” or non-existent workers had been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The flagship programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course. Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments,” he added.

When the the Committee was constituted in February 2016, the Federal government’s monthly salary bill was 151 billion Naira, excluding pensions. Now the monthly salary warrant is 138 billion Naira, excluding pensions, which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about 13 billion Naira from February 2016 to date.”

He added that the the pension bill was 15.5 billion a month as at February but had now fallen to 14.4 billion Naira, which means average monthly saving of about 1.1 billion Naira.

He explained that the total number of ghost workers so far removed from the payroll is about 50,000 and that 11 persons championing the syndicate of the ghost workers have been referred to EFCC with some of them already facing trial.