Yemen seeks to get rid of “ghost soldiers”.

yemen armyYemen’s government has begun applying a biometric registration system for all military personnel in order to clear the public payroll from double-dippers and so-called ‘ghost workers’.

Double-dippers are those who are registered twice on the payroll and receive two salaries from two different public sector jobs. Ghost workers are fake names that are put on the payroll or those workers who receive one salary but do not serve in their positions. Some ghost workers do not even live in Yemen.

The problem is particularly acute in the Armed Forces, but the practice has been difficult to eradicate due to the delicate balance between different tribal and regional differences in the Army. But now teams have been sent to military camps across the country to take photos and fingerprints of the soldiers. Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on August 3 that the teams should finish registering all soldiers before the end of October.

Starting from October, military personnel will receive their salaries in person or through their accounts in the post offices across the country. The government warned soldiers who do not show up during the registration that they will be delisted from the payrolls, their salaries will stop being disbursed, and that they could face legal measures.

For decades, security chiefs of the military camps were assigned to receive salaries of their soldiers, which they in turn distributed. Activists say that due to years of nepotism, thousands of fake names were registered in the public payroll.

A recent official report published on the state-run Al Thawra daily on August 12 pointed out that reforming the public payroll would save $200 million annually.


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