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Lusa (File photo) / Maputo
Mozambique’s Ministry of State Administration and the Public Service fears that wages are being paid to thousands of “ghost workers”, people whose names are on the books of various state departments, but who do not work there.
According to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the problem was detected during the 2015 “proof of life” exercise. This involves every single state employee showing up in person at a specified office to prove that he or she is still alive.
There are supposed to be around 357,000 employees in the Mozambican public administration. But, according to the director of Information Technology Systems in the Ministry, Feliciano Chavana, several thousand of these people seem to be fictitious.
Chavana put the number of ghost workers at around 8,600, of whom at least 2,760 are still receiving their wages normally. He guaranteed that the computer platforms used to register state workers indicates exactly which institutions the anomalies occur in.
The officials in charge of these institutions have been asked to explain themselves. They were given until 30 April to explain how their records still contain the names of people who have died, who have retired, or who have been expelled from state employment.
Chasing down this relatively small number of ghost workers (the 2,760 people receiving wages unduly is less than 0.8 per cent of the state work force) is the justification for the annual “proof of life” exercise.
But “proof of life” has its own costs. Most state workers have to take time off to present themselves in person. They may have to walk to the office dealing with “proof of life”, and they may have to queue up. If there is some problem with their documentation, they may have to return on another day. For each worker, the exercise is unlikely to take less than an hour. So across the entire state apparatus, the cost is 357,000 lost hours of work.
The exercise is now supposed to be annual, and currently the 2017 “proof of life” is under way. To make it somewhat more rational, all state workers are supposed to present themselves during the month of their birth, though this is unlikely to eliminate all queuing. Those who fail to show up for their “proof of life” are threatened with immediate suspension of their wages.Source: AIM