WorldStage Newsonline -- The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced saving N118.9 billion from overheads previously lost to ghost workers with the introduction of The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to the Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku, the system was able to detect 46,821 ghost workers across 215 government ministers, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Maku who made the disclosure on Tuesday at a world press conference, at the Radio House Press Conference, Abuja, decried a situation in which senior public servants deliberately planted ghost workers in the public service, adding that it was one of the ways of promoting corruption in the system. He also noted that public service was meant to serve Nigerians, but it had become the other way round, a development he described as being unfortunate and frustrating.
On the level of budget implementation, the minister said, "58 per cent of the budget now executed through Introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS). Will rise to 79 per cent by end of third quarter 2013.
On the recent Positive Sovereign Credit Ratings of the country by Fitch and Standard and Poors, Maku said the rating had affirmed a stable outlook of the country's economy; stressing that, "it is an evaluation of the creditworthiness of a sovereign state or nation, and a key determinant of the interest rate at which such a country (and its private sector) can borrow on international financial markets. It also indicates the level of risk of investing in a country and, is therefore monitored closely by foreign investors.
"So in spite of a challenging global economic environment in which several countries (including very-recently, Ghana) have seen their creditworthiness downgraded, that of Nigeria remains steady and unchanged. The ratings agencies are citing the solid macroeconomic performance – including low fiscal and external debt positions, lower inflation, ample foreign reserves, and strong non-oil GDP growth, as major contributory factors to this recent rating, while also recognizing challenges like oil theft and infrastructure shortfalls.
“ What this ratings affirmation implies for Nigeria, is that the private sector can continue to raise finance at cheap rates on international credit markets. More specifically, Nigerian banks can borrow money at cheaper rates abroad in order to “unlend” to local private enterprises. In addition, the ratings should uphold Nigeria’s attractiveness for foreign investment, especially since the country has been the number one investment destination in Africa over the last two years.
“A number of Nigerian banks have gone to raise funds abroad e.g. Access Bank ($350 million Euro Bond), GTB ($350 million Euro Bond), Fidelity Bank ($300 million Euro Bond)“ International Investors are now more interested in Nigeria. About $7 Billion invested in Nigeria by foreign investors in 2012."
Maku further said that agricultural and power machinery importation got zero percent waver and tariff, adding that N10.65 billion was received from tax this year alone.
Applauding the Federal Government's Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment-Programme (SURE-P), the minister pointed out that from the programme's budget of N180 billion in 2012, a lot of jobs had been created both at the federal and the state levels, including the transport sector.
He expressed satisfaction that the nation's banking system was progressing, noting that some of the Nigerian banks were currently among the 12 strongest banks in Africa.
Maku stated that the nation's economy was robust, saying those rumouring that the country was broke were just being unpatriotic and mischievous, adding that the market capitalisation increased to N8.98 trillion in 2012 from N6.5trillion, while it currently stood at about N12 trillion.
According to him, eight sectors of the country's economy were currently recording faster growth, including finance, insurance, agriculture and telecommunication, which had so far recorded 24.38 percent growth.
The minister further said that states should desist from running to the federal government for every little thing they needed, as every state had the potential to generate enough revenue for its operations and maintenance if only they could look inward.
While noting that the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the exchange rate had been stable, the minister pointed out that employments were being created in the oil and gas as well as agriculture sectors, adding that the power sector was undergoing an unusual transformation.
He noted that for the first time, electricity or power had moved from government bureaucracy to the competitive market.
He said the new companies in the power sector must be ready to compete or lose out, adding that 20, 000 megawatts would be added to the national grid.
The minister also reiterated his call on the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off their strike.