Tanzania finds 10,000 “ghost workers” on public payroll

16 May 16

Tanzania has slashed 10,000 “ghost workers” from its public sector payroll, saving government coffers more than $2m a month.

The discovery of the non-existent workers followed a nationwide audit ordered by president John Magufuli in March as part of a crackdown on corruption and wasteful public spending.

Officials told Reuters the payroll audit is continuing and more ghost workers are expected to be identified.

At an event at the Tanzanian High Commission in London at the weekend, prime minister Kassim Majaliwa said the authorities will start to “crack the whip” against those receiving the money immediately, AllAfrica reported.

President Magufuli was elected in October. His vows to weed out graft and unnecessary public expenditure were popular with Tanzanians fed up with the endemic corruption that has frustrated the country’s development.

Since his election, Magufuli has cancelled elaborate independence day celebrations, cut spending for a dinner celebrating the opening of parliament and banned foreign travel for all government officials apart from the president, vice president and prime minister.

Nicknamed the “bulldozer” following his tenure as public works minister, Magufuli has begun embarking on surprise visits to catch the corrupt or incompetent in the act.

So far this has led to the firing of a hospital chief and dissolution of its governing board and the arrest of the Tanzania Revenue Authority chief and five of his top lieutenants for tax fraud, which cost around $40m in revenue.

He has also dismissed several other senior officials, including the head of the anti-graft body.

The country spends over $260m every month on its wage bill, which the government thinks has been hugely inflated by non-existent workers.

Earlier this year, an audit revealed 24,000 ghost workers on the Nigerian government payroll, saving around $11.5m.  

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