The government of Tanzania has announced the removal of 10,0000 “ghost workers” from its public service payroll that were discovered in an ongoing national audit ordered by President John Magufuli in March this year.
According to the office of the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Kassin Majaliwa, these nonexistent workers were costing the Tanzanian government over $2 million a month.
Majaliwa further explained that the nationwide audit would continue as the government looks to apprehend more ghost workers, promising that those behind the fraud will be arrested and prosecuted.
“We will identify those behind this payroll fraud and take them to court. The fight against corruption is top priority for the government,” Kassim said in a statement.
The Tanzanian government insists that the ongoing wage bill audit will help save more than 4.5 billion shillings of the country’s budget.
Corruption in Tanzania
According to Transparency International, Tanzania is ranked 117 out of the 168 most-corrupt countries across the world.
In 2014, foreign donors suspended $490 million worth of budgetary donations to Tanzania following revelations that several Tanzanian ministers had stolen at least $180 million from the country’s central bank, through energy company escrow accounts.
As of 2013, Tanzania was the second biggest recipient of donations in sub-Saharan Africa, pocketing at least $3.43 billion from foreign donors. Although the country has enjoyed decades of relative peace, two-thirds of its population still lives below the poverty line.
In his inauguration ceremony in October last year, then President-elect Magufuli promised to clamp down on corrupt individuals, both in government and in the private sector.
The ongoing public service audit is among the immediate steps being taken by President Magufuli to fight corruption in the East African country, although some critics have termed the move as populist and aimed at gaining political capital.
The United Republic of Tanzania, which is the second-largest economy in East Africa after Kenya, largely depends on agriculture for development; it is estimated that at least half of the employed labor force in Tanzania is in agriculture.
The construction industry is the other major component of economic growth in Tanzania, contributing to about 22.2 percent of the country’s GDP. This industry covers five main areas, including mining and quarrying, construction, electricity, natural gas, and water supply.
Fishing, tourism, and manufacturing are the other major contributors to the Tanzanian economy.
Barely eight months after he assumed office, President Magufuli sacked several top public officials, including the head of the anti-graft body, the head of tax authority, a top railway official, and the head of Tanzania’s port authority.