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FG Urges MDAs to Participate in Debt Recovery Drive to Boost Government Revenues

The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning has called on all federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to actively support its debt recovery policy as a means to enhance government revenues.

During the South-South Zonal Sensitisation Workshop on Federal Government debt recovery drive through Project Lighthouse in Asaba, Delta State, Mr. Victor Omota, the Director of Special Projects at FMFBNP, emphasized the ministry’s successful recovery of over N58 billion from approximately N5.2 trillion owed by more than 7,000 debtors to 11 MDAs over the past three years through its Project Lighthouse initiative.

This project, developed in collaboration with the 946 federal MDAs, aims to recover all outstanding debts and prevent revenue leakages.

The director highlighted the ongoing efforts to track and collect debts owed to the MDAs to enhance government revenue. The Debt Analytics and Reporting Application has been instrumental in consolidating the colossal debt amount of approximately N5.2 trillion, which came to light through data gathered from over 7,000 debtors across 11 MDAs. The consolidation efforts are still ongoing.

Omota emphasized the current administration’s economic policy objective of enhancing non-oil revenue sources to increase Federal Government revenues. The ministry’s strategic approach includes leveraging big data technology to identify revenue opportunities, optimize existing streams, and address revenue loopholes.

The ministry’s initiative, Project Lighthouse, falls under the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI) and enables the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies that previously did not share data.

The director noted that revenue loopholes have been exacerbated by poor information sharing and enforcement. Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals with outstanding debts to government agencies continued to receive payments, particularly through government platforms such as GIFMIS and the Treasury Single Account (TSA), due to a lack of visibility over these transactions. These debts include liabilities owed to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and refunds owed by companies that failed to deliver on projects despite receiving payment.

By collaborating with the MDAs, the ministry aims to promptly recover these debts and address significant revenue loopholes. A ministerial directive was issued on September 26, 2019, to all MDAs, urging them to aggregate government debts across the Public Finance Space and establish a single window for the government’s credit profile.
In an interview, consultants to the ministry, Mr. Abraham Atteh and Mr. Suleiman Tambaya, emphasized the potential for the government to deliver more social services to citizens by recovering all debts owed by MDAs. They explained that Project Lighthouse aims to collaborate with the 946 MDAs to track and recover debts using a designed technological system.

The sensitization workshop serves as an opportunity to encourage all MDAs to actively participate in the Project Lighthouse initiative to facilitate a streamlined debt recovery process from their clients.

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