The Bank Verification Number (BVN) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is helping to eliminate ghost workers from the payroll of the Federal Government, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said. She explained that the government had completed a pilot programme which used the BVN details of workers to check for ghost workers and identify duplicate and other irregular entries on the payroll. Adeosun said that genuine workers have nothing to fear but those who are collecting multiple salaries and those engaged in any type of payroll fraud.
The Ministry of Finance, she added, has put measures in place to block people who may be seeking to transfer their salary accounts to micro-finance, mortgage bank and other non BVN accounts to evade detection. A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance read in part: “The BVN provides a pool of reliable data against which records held on the Federal Government’s payroll will be cross checked to identify inconsistencies including duplicate payments, payments to dormant accounts, multiple payments to a single account holder, non-matching of data provided, among others.
“Since the advent of BVN we have seen a trend of such requests for transfer from commercial bank accounts to non BVN accounts. Accordingly, we plan to undertake a detailed review of all persons who have requested such transfers in the last 12 months,” it added.
The Ministry of Finance is also working with Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to finalise plans to launch BVN to capture non-BVN bank institutions in Federal Government salary accounts. The pilot project was initiated as a solution to the slow pace of progress being encountered in the enrolment of staff on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). “The strategy of using BVN rather than requiring the physical presence of each member of staff has significantly simplified and accelerated the progress of the project and at a lower cost than previously incurred,” the ministry stated.
Adeosun believes that the use of BVN rather than requiring physical presentation as a first line check on the integrity of payroll is a cost effective and efficient measure. This, she noted, will accelerate the pace of enrolment on IPPIS as well as identify anomalies which can be flagged for further investigation and review. “To date, despite over five years since the initiation of the project, just 20 percent of public employees have actually been enrolled onto IPPIS due to a variety of reasons. As part of our public financial management reforms, we are committed to scrutinising our largest single expense item. Personnel related costs account for over 40 percent of government expenditure and must be prudently managed to ensure the validity of every payment. We are therefore determined that everyone who collects a salary from the Federal Purse is on the IPPIS system,” the statement added.