Weed out these county ghost workers now
As the County Government struggles under an unsustainable wage bill, Nairobians wonder what happened to the much-touted plan to weed out ghost workers from County Hall.
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) now reveals how deeply-rooted the problem is, with suspected cases of identity theft; workers still earning salaries when they should have long retired; government employees appearing on more than one payroll; workers whose IDs are out of circulation, meaning the IDs belong to dead people; and many others who do not appear on the lists of workers who were vetted in 2010 and August last year, but whose names are on the list of workers as at January.
A headcount last year uncovered 2,260 ghost workers.
This points to corruption still deeply entrenched at County Hall, and it is costing the government a fortune.
No wonder the county cannot deliver services the way it should. It has resorted to increasing taxes.
However, the revenue it collects every day is only lining up pockets of some fat cats at County Hall, who have been doing this for years.
Even as Governor Kidero’s office works with the anti-corruption office to bring the culprits to book, the county should act fast on the report by PWC to stop it losing money.
The next step should be for the county to suspend payment of salaries to all the questionable accounts until the matter is resolved.
This will also ensure quick action on the part of the county so that in the event any innocent worker is caught up in the investigation, they are not inconvenienced.
County Hall also needs a major job evaluation. Many jobs are duplicated, it’s no wonder some workers are holding two jobs. Others spend office hours tending to their personal businesses.
A simple task that should be handled by one or two officials at County Hall ends up being performed by multiple people.
For instance, a customer inquiring about land rate arrears is usually pushed from one employee to another, yet the information should easily be found at the click of button.
One needs not even present themselves at the county offices. This information should be available online.
We all want to see a more efficient County Hall, and this will not be achieved when there are more than 2,000 ghost workers.