Ten Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), companies and individuals are owing the federal government N5.2 trillion.
Out this amount the federal government has been able to recover only N57 billion.
Director, Special Projects Federal Ministry of Finance, Aisha Omar, made this disclosure yesterday in Gombe, Gombe State during a one-day sensitisation programme for the North-East Geopolitical Zone programme on Federal Government’s debt recovery drive through the Project LightHouse Programme.
Omar stated that “these debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across ten (10) Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), adding that, the aggravation was still ongoing”.
The debts include tax liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), refunds to the government by companies that failed to deliver on projects, unpaid credit facilities granted by the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture, judgment debts in favor of the government, and debts owed to the Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate by insurance companies, among others.
She stated that data from Project Lighthouse Programme “revealed that many companies and individuals who owed government agencies and refused to honour their obligations were still being paid, especially through the government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA) due to lack of visibility over such transactions”
The Ministry has taken steps to address revenue loopholes, including issuing a directive to all MDAs to aggregate government debts and obtaining regulatory approval from the Federal Executive Council.
The functionalities of the debt recovery capability of the Lighthouse Project Programme have also been extended to automate the debt recovery process and make settlements seamless.
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The Director emphasized the importance of stakeholders’ cooperation in providing relevant debt-related data to populate the platform. She assured participants that the initiative would significantly improve revenue generation and debt recovery, and she urged all stakeholders to support its implementation.
The Project consultant, Dr. Abraham Atteh, explained that the initiative focuses on tracking, retrieving, and recovering government debts through the use of technology. Systems will be put in place to block loopholes created by entities that do business with the government.
Project Light House Programme is a government initiative managed by the Federal Ministry of Finance in Nigeria. It aims to consolidate and recover debts owed to the government by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
Through the use of the Debt Analytics and Reporting Application, the programme Aisha Omar said was able to identify and aggregate debts owed the federal government amounting to approximately N5.2 trillion.
The Project Lighthouse initiative utilizes big data analytics technology to address the challenge of debt recovery. Its main objectives include blocking revenue loopholes, identifying new revenue opportunities, optimizing existing revenue streams (especially non-oil revenue), and improving fiscal transparency.