The Federal Government has disclosed that over 5,000 debtors currently owe its agencies about N4.67tn.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who made the disclosure on Monday, said the government had in the past 18 months recovered N53.8bn out of the N5.2tn owed 10 ministries, departments and agencies.
The minister made the disclosure during the launch of the Project Lighthouse Debt Analytics and Reporting platform 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
Ahmed noted that in a bid to optimise revenue, the ministry had in 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, programmes and mandates.
She said, “A perfunctory 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, with a view to having 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 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.”