The Federal Government has so far recovered N57 billion from the N5.2 trillion owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The Director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Finance, Aisha Omar, disclosed this during a sensitisation workshop on Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive through Project Lighthouse Programme for South-East zone in Enugu, yesterday.

Declaring the event open, Omar said the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across more than 93 MDAs.

Represented by Mrs. Bridget Molokwu, he said the debts were in the form of liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The director said it also received refunds to the government by companies who failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been made. Others are unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Judgment Debt in favor of Government, debts owed Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by insurance companies amongst others.

She added that data from Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals, who owed government agencies and refused to honor their obligations were still being paid.

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

In actualising debt recovery goals, she said the ministry initiated “Project Lighthouse”, which has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data.

“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. The debt aggregation effort is still ongoing. 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.”

The director said similar workshop had been held in five other geo-political zones namely South- West, North-Central, North-West, South-South and North-East.

She explained that an important part of the policies and strategies was to leverage big data technology to help block revenue loopholes, identify new revenue opportunities, optimise existing revenue streams especially non-oil revenue as well as improve fiscal transparency.