Nigeria Hunts More ‘Ghost Workers’, Seeks Extension Of BVN To Microfinance Banks

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In an attempt to rein in the ‘untoward’ activities of fraudulent government employees (Ghost workers), the Federal Government has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enforce the use of Bank Verification Number (BVN), in Microfinance Banks (MFBs).

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, is seeking that it becomes mandatory that all account holders in MFBs get a BVN as a requirement to operate such accounts.

She said such step would facilitate the detection of bank accounts opened and operated for ghost workers by fraudulent syndicates.

In a memo sent to the Governor of the Apex Bank, Godwin Emefiele, she lauded the introduction of the BVN by the apex bank, adding that it has contributed immensely in improving the integrity of the Federal Government payroll on which more than 50, 000 ghost workers were detected and removed.

“Our ongoing efforts to verify the integrity of Federal Government personnel costs and purge the system of fraud and error has made extensive use of the Bank Verification Number as a means of identifying recipients of multiple salaries, and salaries paid into accounts with names that differ from those held on our payroll records. The success of this effort has to date yielded the removal of over 50,000 payroll entries,” the Minister said.

She referred the CBN Governor to the discovery that, prior to the deadline for obtaining the BVN, the movement of a large number of salary accounts of federal employees from commercial banks to Microfinance Banks, was observed.

“This is a suspicious activity and we have already commenced a review of such cases to identify and investigate any cases of fraud,” the Minister explained.

While noting that extending the requirement for BVN to Microfinance Banks may put a huge financial strain on the smaller Microfinance Banks, the Minister pointed out that  “some MFBs,  such as National Police Force Microfinance (NPF), have over 27,000 salary accounts. Our inability to perform checks on such a large number of salary earners is a key risk.”

“I am therefore seeking your co-operation to enforce compliance with BVN on any  MFB with over 200 active salary accounts or those above a certain size. This will support the Federal Government’s efforts at reducing leakages to create headroom for the capital projects that will support the growth of the economy,”  the Minister said in the correspondence.



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