Tanzania has announced it has removed 10,000 ghost workers from its payroll, saving the government more than U.S.$2m per month, reports say.

The announcement comes less than two months after the country’s President John Magufuli issued a directive to government departments to remove ghost workers from the public sector payroll in line with his administration’s anti-corruption and austerity drive.

Corruption and lack of transparency has been one of Tanzania’s enduring problems and President has vowed to continue fighting corruption. The country has continued to score disappointingly low on the Transparency International (TI) annual corruption index.

In its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, TI ranked Tanzania 117/167, and the country has not improved its score and rank on the index over the past few years. Tanzania has lost billions of dollars through corruption, lack of transparency and inefficiencies in public institutions.

To tackle the problem, Magufuli’s government has taken bold steps, aimed at fighting corruption, profligacy, malfeasance and strengthening public sector transparency and accountability. The measures have included sacking of senior public officials for negligence, mismanagement of public funds and incompetence.

The list of fired top officials, include head of the government’s anti-corruption body, the director general of the country’s ports authority, and the head of the tax authority amongst others.

Tanzania’s actions to tackle corruption resonate with the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, which underscores the importance of strengthening state institutions based on principles of transparency and accountability.

Although corruption is still rife across the continent, if corruption and impunity are to “be a thing of the past” as stated by the AU, the measures and reforms such as those being taken by Tanzania, are positive and indeed welcome. Such reforms are a step in the right direction, where there is a strong leadership and political will to effectively get rid of corruption and commit to inclusive socio-economic development.

Source: BBC