The Federal Government of Nigeria has given a statement saying that over 5,000 debtors owe its agencies about N4.67tn.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed on Monday, said the government had in the past 18 months recovered N53.8bn out of the N5.2tn owed to ten ministries departments and agencies.
The minister disclosed this during the Project Lighthouse Debt Analytics and Reporting platform launch in Abuja.
She credited the project lighthouse and the collaborative efforts of the Office of the Account General for the discovery and recovery of the outstanding debts.
In a bid to optimize revenue, Ahmed noted that the ministry had 2017 introduced the ‘Project Lighthouse’ to mine data from multiple sources to support the implementation of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
According to her, the project seeks to, among other things, address issues surrounding the tracking and implementation of government policies, initiatives, programs, and mandates.
She said, “A cursory review of perceived significant leakages in government led the FMFBNP to issue a directive on September 26, 2019, to all government agencies in a bid to aggregate all government debts across all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, intending to have a single window on the credit profile of the government.
“Sequel to the issuance of the finance circular, the ministry, through the consolidation efforts of the project, has been able to aggregate massive debts of approximately N5.2trn.
“These debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000 debtors across 10 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
“Working in collaboration with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, we have been able to recover the sum of N53.5bn within the last 12-18 months through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System as a recovery touchpoint.
“However, to consolidate on the current effort of this project, a debt recovery application has been built to be monitored by the new Debt Recovery Unit.”