Indications by Finance minister Tendai Biti that the inclusive government has started sniffing out ghost workers is a step in the right direction because the country cannot afford a situation where unscrupulous individuals continue to illegally drain the fiscus at the expense of the nation.
After weeding out these culprits, the government should go a step further and bring those responsible to book.
For an individual to receive multiple salaries from government is criminal, and this rot must be stemmed.
In fact, this exercise should have been done long ago. However, the nation must take comfort knowing that finally, there now seems to be commitment to address this daylight robbery.
Last year, the Public Service ministry unearthed about 70 000 ghost workers on the government payroll following a human resource audit and it is disturbing that up to now, no action has been taken.
No matter how you look at it, this is a very serious matter that cannot be taken lightly.
Did they really have to wait for a salary hike to sniff out the criminals so that they ease pressure on the civil service wage bill? But it is better late than never.
It is recommended that all civil servants who have illegally benefited from the ghost worker scandal should also be made to pay the price for their misdeeds.
If pressing criminal charges is deemed too extreme, consideration should perhaps be made to cut their salaries as they have already paid themselves for services not rendered.
It is unacceptable for the civil service to breed criminals using dead people’s names to line their pockets.
We understand that our civil servants are poorly paid, but that should not justify criminal behaviour and this message has to be sent out loud and clear through the action government must take.
It is about time the inclusive government proved that it means business by taking stern action on this problem, which has been allowed to spread unchecked over the past many years. For a long time we have heard, and written, about these ghost workers.
It should follow now that we must see their back as they are chucked out of the civil service.
The best way to demonstrate government’s commitment towards eradicating the scourge of ghost workers is by walking the talk. For a long time, we as a nation have been known for mere talking without the implementation of decisions made.
Dealing with this problem effectively will also be in the good of the government as the money that had been used to pay ghost workers can be rechannelled elsewhere.
It is our hope that we will live to see the implementation of this noble decision. It has been a long time since it was established that ghost workers are haunting government’s payroll and now they have to be exorcised.