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Finance ministry recovered N57bn MDAs’ debts – Director

The Federal Ministry of Finance has recovered over N57bn from the N5.2tn debts owed by ministries, departments, and agencies to the Federal Government.

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

Declaring the event open, Omar, represented by the Deputy Director of Special Projects in the ministry, Mrs. Bridget Molokwu, revealed that the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000 debtors across more than 93 MDAs. Though she claimed more recoveries had been made, she could not provide the data.

She said the ministry could account for the official figure of N57bn, adding that the debts were in the form of liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Molokwu said the ministry also received refunds from companies that failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been made. Other refunds, according to her, were unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture, Judgment Debt in favor of the government, and debts owed Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate by insurance companies, amongst others.

“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 N5.2tn. The debt aggregation effort is still ongoing. Currently, approximately N57bn has been recovered so far from this amount, due to concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders and the Federal Government,” she said.

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. According to her, this was done through the government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account, due to the lack of visibility over these transactions. In actualizing the debt recovery goal, she said the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated ‘Project Lighthouse,’ which, according to her, had enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data.

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