Federal Government recovers N58bn debt out of N5.2trn from 10 Agencies

 Federal Government recovers N58bn debt out of N5.2trn from 10 Agencies

The Federal Government has announced the recovery of N57 billion from the N5.2 trillion liabilities 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 Okokon Ekanem Udo made the disclosure on Tuesday in Enugu State 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. This was according to a statement by a spokesman for the ministry, Mohammed Manga.

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.

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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 disclosed that the Ministry has 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.

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