10 MDAs Owe N5.2trn – Finance Ministry

10 MDAs Owe N5.2trn – Finance Ministry
  • PublishedSeptember 20, 2023
  • Yusuf Oketola

The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on Tuesday, said it has, through the Project LightHouse’s Debt Analytics and Reporting Application, aggregated monumental debts of approximately N5.2 trillion in 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

It said the success sprang from the concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders and the Federal Government.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja

Of the debt, OSUN DEFENDER learnt that N57 billion has been duly recovered.

The Director, Special Projects at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Aisha Omar, made this disclosure in Gombe, Gombe State during a one-day sensitisation programme for the North-East Geopolitical Zone programme on the Federal Government’s debt recovery drive through the Project LightHouse Programme.

Omar hinted that the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across 10 Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), adding that the aggravation was still ongoing. According to Omar, Project Lighthouse initiative, managed by the Finance Ministry, was designed to help solve the intractable and perennial problem of debt recovery by using big data analytics technology.

The Director, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Director in the Special Projects Department Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Bridget Molokwu, disclosed that the core focus of Project Lighthouse is to leverage on 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.

She emphasized that the essence of the initiative was the recovery of debt owed to the Federal Government by individuals and companies through the debt recovery capability of Project Lighthouse engine. The system, according to her, collects, integrates and analyses data from revenue generating agencies in order to create insightful information for improved decision making on debt recovery.

According to the Director, the importance of the project is leveraging big data technology to help in blocking revenue loopholes, identifying new revenue opportunities, optimising existing revenue streams especially the non-oil revenue as well as improving fiscal transparency.

She revealed 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 Director explained that the debts were in the form of debt liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); refunds to the Government by companies which failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been effected, unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA). Others were judgment debt in favour of the Government, debts owed to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by insurance companies among others.

She explained that the Ministry had taken steps to address the major revenue loopholes some of which included; the issuance of a Ministerial directive on 26th September 2019 to all MDAs with a view to aggregating all government debts across the Public Finance Space, to have a single window on the credit profile of the Federal Government and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) regulatory approval on Wednesday 31st March 2021,

extension of the functionalities of the debt recovery capability of the Lighthouse Project Programme.

She added that the above measures would enable the Federal Ministry of Finance to fully automate the debt recovery process and make settlements of debts as seamless as possible.

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