FG Announces The Recovery Of N57BN Debt From 10 MDAs

By Our Reporter



The Federal Government
has announced the recovery of N57 billion from the N5.2 trillion liaibilities owed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other bodies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government

The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo made the disclosure today in Enugu, the Enugu State Capital, during a Sensitisation Workshop on Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive through Project Lighthouse Programme for South-East geo-political zone.

While declaring the event open, Ekanem stated that the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across more than 93 MDAs.

Represented by the Ministry’s
Director, Special Projects, Aisha Omar, the Permanent Secretary informed that it also received refunds to the government from companies who failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been made, adding that others are unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Judgment Debt in favor of Government and debts owed Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by Insurance Companies amongst others.

Mr Udo added that data from Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals, who owe government agencies and refused to honour their obligations were still being paid.

This, he said, was done through government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA) due to lack of visibility over these transactions.

According to him, in actualising debt recovery goal, the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated “Project Lighthouse”, which has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data.

Ekanem explained that, generally, revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing and enforcement. “It may interest you to note that the Ministry, through the consolidation efforts of the Debt Analytics and Reporting Application, has been able to aggregate monumental debts of approximately N5.2 Trillion” , he said.

The Permanent Secretary who informed further that the debt aggregation effort is still ongoing stated that “currently, approximately N57 billion has been recovered so far” “from this amount due to concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders
and the Federal Government”

He hinted that similar sensitization workshops have been held in the five geo-political zones of the country, namely South- West, North-Central, North-West, South-South and North-East respectively

Ekanem explained further that important part of the policies and strategies was to leverage big data technology to help block revenue loopholes, identify new revenue opportunities, optimize existing revenue streams, especially non-oil revenue as well as improve fiscal transparency, in line with the policy objectives of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration

He disclosed that the Ministry, in this regard has however taken steps to address this major revenue loophole, through the issuance of a Ministerial directive to all MDAs to aggregate all Government debt across the Public Finance Space as well as having a single window on the credit profile of Government.

“It extends the functionalities of Debt Recovery Capability of Lighthouse to enable the Federal Ministry of Finance to fully automate the debt recovery process and make settlements of debts as seamless as possible” .

“The usefulness of this platform is that, our revenue generation effort will be dependent on your cooperation and commitment in providing quality and relevant information (debt-related data) to populate the platform”, he added

The Permanent Secretary who expressed optimism that participating Organizations stand to benefit immensely from the Lighthouse Project called for their continuous support to ensure the full realization of the Programme’s goals and aspirations.

Responding, one of the participants at the sensitization workshop Mrs. Ifeoma Ojukwu,
applauded the initiative, noting that it had created more awareness on the benefits accruable to participating MDAs.

In his vote of thanks,
Deputy Director (PICA) Federal Ministry of Finance,
Mr. Johnson Oludare commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance Mrs Lydia Shehu Jafiya as well as the Management and Staff of the Ministry for creating the enabling environment for the operationalization of the Project Lighthouse which he said, is a data-driven initiative aimed at collecting, integrating and analysing data from revenue -generating agencies in order to create insightful information for improved decision making.


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