Nigeria cuts 24,000 ghost workers from state payroll

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Nigeria's Finance Ministry says it is cutting 24,000 ghost workers from the national payroll, saving $11.5 million a month.

A statement received Monday says a new bank verification system helped uncover frauds with federal government salaries being paid to people who do not exist and some civil servants receiving salaries from multiple agencies.

The finance minister's spokesman Festus Akanbi said the 24,000 make up 7.5 percent of the 312,000 names so far checked in an ongoing exercise to rout out corruption.

Shortly before Nigeria's government changed last year, an independent commission against corrupt practices reported discovering 45,000 ghost workers just in the federal ministry of finance.

Federal workers' salaries account for more than 40 percent of Nigerian government expenditure and are the biggest item on the budget.