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Federal Govt recovers N57 billion debt

The Federal Government has recovered N57 billion from a staggering N5.2 trillion owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to various government bodies.

This disclosure was made by Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo, Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance, during a sensitization workshop in Enugu.

The recovered funds stem from a data gathering initiative known as Project Lighthouse. “The project identified over 5,000 debtors across more than 93 MDAs. The debts include unpaid credit facilities, undelivered project payments, and outstanding obligations to entities like the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, and the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate”.

Mr. Udo who was represented by the Ministry’s Director, Special Projects,  Aisha Omar revealed that Project Lighthouse exposed a critical vulnerability: “companies and individuals who owed government agencies continued to receive payments through platforms like GIFMIS and TSA due to a lack of data transparency”. This discovery highlighted the importance of information sharing in plugging revenue loopholes.

The Permanent Secretary stated that the debt recovery efforts would be sustained also noted that the N57 billion recovered so far represents a significant initial step towards collecting the total N5.2 trillion owed.

Similar sensitization workshops have been held across all geopolitical zones to raise awareness and garner support for the initiative.

The Federal Ministry of Finance is leveraging big data technology to bolster its debt recovery efforts.  This strategy aims to block revenue loopholes; identify new revenue streams; optimize existing revenue collection, particularly from non-oil sources and enhance fiscal transparency

As part of the strategy, the Ministry has issued a directive mandating MDAs to aggregate all government debts and establish a single window for accessing the government’s credit profile. These actions aim to streamline the debt recovery process and improve transparency.

Mr. Udo emphasized the crucial role of participating organizations in providing accurate and relevant debt-related data to populate the Lighthouse platform. He expressed optimism that this collaborative effort will ensure the program’s success.

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