Minister of Finance and Development Planning DrÃ‚Â Ken Lipenga on Friday said government has this year deleted from its payroll over 1 130 ghost pensioners who were costing over K113 million (about $681 437) each year.
Speaking during presentation of the 2011/12 Mid-Year Budget Statement, Lipenga said government will act on people behind the ghost pensioners.
The revelation comes at the time government has also deleted from its payroll, several ghost workers who were discovered after a directive that all civil servants be paid their salaries through the banks.
Ã¢â‚¬ÂAnother pay parade was also carried out in the first half of this financial year, this time around involving pensioners.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In that pay parade, as in the earlier one on serving civil servants, ghost pensioners obviously of a slightly older age group, totalling 1 132 and costing government K113.8 million per annum were also established and deleted from the pensioners payroll,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Lipenga.
He also said since the bank system directive was introduced, government has removed 13 800 ghost workers from its payroll who he said were costing taxpayers in excess of K3.6 billion (about $21.6 million) each year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Although this arrangement had its own challenges at the beginning, government worked tirelessly in this financial year to resolve the challenges and ensure that all civil servants get paid in time and within the month they have worked,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Lipenga.
The bank system directive resulted in some civil servants, especially teachers and some health workers failing to receive their perks for several months.
On Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) Lipenga said government has used the allocated K21.9 billion for the programme to procure 140 000 metric tons of fertiliser comprising 70 000 metric tons of NPK fertiliser and 70 000 metric tons of Urea, which he said has been distributed to 1.4 million families.
The minister, however, proposed that an additional K1.7 billion be allocated to the subsidy programme to cater for last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 10 percent kwacha devaluation and increases in global fertiliser prices.
He also said out of K1.2 billion allocated to Admarc to buy maize from smallholder farmers, K388 million has already been spent to buy 9 826 metric tons of maize, leaving a balance of K812 million for Admarc to spend this year.