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The federal government’s payroll has been rid of 50,000 ghost workers, saving the country of over N200 billion in 2016.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, disclosed this on Tuesday at an interactive session with state house correspondents.

Shehu said from February when the ministry of finance established an efficiency unit, N13 billion had been saved every month.

He added that the pension bill, which was N15.5 billion monthly as of February, was now down to N14.4 billion, saving an average‎ of about N1.1 billion monthly.

Shehu said 11 persons championing the syndicate of ghost 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 said.

“When the committee was constituted in February 2016, federal government monthly salary bill was N151 billion, excluding pensions. Now the monthly salary warrant is N138 billion, excluding pensions, which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about N13 billion. That is from February 2016 to date.”

Shehu said the 21 Chibok schoolgirls released from the captivity of Boko Haram are being treated as adoptees of the federal government.

He revealed that there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls.

“A black American billionaire, Mr. Robert Smith who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set of escapees from Boko Haram, at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free,” he said.

“The Murtala Mohammed Foundation in the country is equally interested.”

Responding to the complaints of some of the girls’ parents that they did not have enough room to interact with their daughters, Shehu said hitches arose from a lack of understanding on the part of security operatives.

He said a directive had been given that the parents be given access to their children.

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) accompanied the girls to their village.

“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he said.

Shehu also said appointments into the boards of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would be back on track at the beginning of the New Year.

“You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector by sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the New Year. The president has given directions on what to do,” he said.


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