The Federal Ministry of Finance says it has successful completed a pilot project of using Bank Verification Number (BVN) details to fish out ghost workers, identity duplication and other irregular entries on the payroll.
The Bank Verification Number is a number that uniquely identifies each bank’s customer for “know your customer” KYC purposes.
The pilot project was initiated by federal government as a solution to the slow pace of progress being encountered in the enrollment of staff on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
A statement signed by the Director of Press in the ministry, Marshall Gundu, yesterday, said that 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 anticipated.
“We believe that the use of BVN rather than requiring physical presentation as a first line check on the integrity of our payroll is a cost effective and efficient measure. This will accelerate the pace of enrollment on IPPIS as well as identify anomalies which can be flagged for further investigation and review.”
“To date, despite over 5 years since initiation of the project, just 20 per cent 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 scrutinizing our largest single expense item. Personnel related costs account for over 40 per cent 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 form the Federal Purse is on the IPPIS system,” said the ministry.
While, commending the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Plc (NIBBS) for their co-operation in the exercise, the Minister of Finance noted that under the BVN initiative, more than 30 million biometric and personal data records had been captured.
The statement reads: “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,”
According to the ministry, genuine staff have nothing to be concerned about but those who are collecting multiple salaries and those engaged in any type of payroll fraud are guaranteed to be caught out, adding that the
Ministry of Finance has also built in controls to counteract those seeking to transfer their salary receiving accounts to micro-finance, mortgage bank and other non BVN accounts in order to evade detection.
“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.