‘Ghost workers’ exposure saves Tanzania $35 million

By Peter Saramba Ongiri

MWANZA, Tanzania (AA) – As the world marks International Labor Day, over 8,000 so-called ‘ghost workers’ have been identified on Tanzania’s government pay-roll.

Removing these bureaucratic fictions will save the state over $35 million in salaries which would have been paid to non-existent staff from January to April this year.

Since being sworn into office on Nov. 5 last year, President John Magufuli set fighting misuse of public funds and resources, embezzlement, corruption and negligence among public servants as his main goal.

He immediately ordered the verification of all public servants verification to save billions being spent paying ‘ghost’ staff.

So far at least 56 senior public officials have been dismissed after their contracts were revoked due to negligence or alleged involvement in embezzling public monies.

According to Angela Kairuki, Tanzania’s minister for good governance, the search continues to make sure not a single public cent is paid to a non-existing worker. “No single stone will be left unturned in the ongoing public servants verification process,” she told Anadolu Agency.

Half of the ghost workers were identified in local government authorities, while the remainder was found on the central government’s payroll.

“The government is very serious on this matter, we are going no to rest until all ghost workers who were consuming billions of public funds are, and their accomplices are exposed and dealt with accordingly,” promised Kairuki.

Commenting on the move, Trade Union Confederation of Tanzania Secretary-General Nicolas Mgaya told Anadolu Agency his union was pro-verification because the saved money will not only go to implement development projects, but will also used to hire new workers in the government’s plan to employ over 70, 000 new civil servants.

The Tanzanian state has more than 400,000 public servants in both local and central government authorities.

The country, like other developing nations, faces high rates of corruption, misuse of public funds plus embezzlement among government and public servants.