The Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that over 5,000 debtors owe its agencies a total of N4.67 billion.
The Minister said on Monday that the government has recovered N53.8 billion out of the N5.2 billion owing to 10 ministries, departments, and agencies in the previous 18 months.
In Abuja, the minister made the announcement at the launch of the Project Lighthouse Debt Analytics and Reporting portal.
She commended the project lighthouse and the Office of the Account General’s combined efforts for the discovery and recovery of the outstanding debts.
The ministry created ‘Project Lighthouse’ in 2017 to mine data from numerous sources to enhance the implementation of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, Ahmed said, in order to optimize revenue.
According to her, the project aims to address challenges such as tracking and implementing government policies, initiatives, programs, and mandates, among other things.
“A perfunctory review of perceived significant leakages in government led the FMFBNP to issue a directive to all government agencies on September 26, 2019, in a bid to aggregate all government debts across all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, with the goal of having a single window on the government’s credit profile,” she said.
“Sequel to the issuance of the finance circular, the ministry through the consolidation efforts of the project, has been able to aggregate monumental 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.”