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Ministry of Finance recovers over N57 billion from government debts

Debt Recovery Drive Sheds Light on Government Liabilities

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In a significant breakthrough, the Federal Ministry of Finance has announced the recovery of over N57 billion from the extensive debts owed by ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to the Federal Government. The revelation emerged during a one-day workshop held in Enugu, shedding light on the ongoing Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive under the Project Lighthouse Programme, specifically tailored for the South-East zone.

Aisha Omar, Director of Special Projects at the Federal Ministry of Finance, unveiled this development on Tuesday. Represented by Mrs. Bridget Molokwu, Deputy Director of Special Projects, Omar disclosed that the recovered debts were identified through meticulous data analysis encompassing more than 5,000 debtors across a staggering 93 MDAs.

While asserting additional progress in debt recovery efforts, Omar’s team refrained from providing specific data. Nonetheless, they affirmed the ministry’s ability to substantiate the official figure of N57 billion. These debts primarily manifest as liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, underlining the intricate financial landscape facing government entities.

Molokwu elaborated on the diverse nature of the reclaimed funds, citing refunds from companies failing to fulfill project obligations despite receiving payments. Furthermore, reimbursements were obtained from entities defaulting on credit facilities extended by institutions such as the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture. Notably, outstanding judgments in favor of the government and arrears owed to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate by insurance companies constituted part of the reclaimed sums.

“The root of revenue leakage often stems from inadequate information sharing and enforcement mechanisms,” remarked Molokwu, emphasizing the critical role of cohesive action by stakeholders and governmental bodies in addressing fiscal challenges.

The advent of the Debt Analytics and Reporting Application has been pivotal in consolidating and scrutinizing debts, with an estimated total surpassing a monumental N5.2 trillion. Yet, amid this daunting task, approximately N57 billion has been successfully recuperated thus far, owing to collaborative endeavors between stakeholders and the Federal Government.

Furthermore, insights gleaned from Project Lighthouse have exposed a disconcerting trend wherein companies and individuals reneging on financial obligations to government agencies continue to receive payments. This revelation underscores the imperative of enhancing transparency and oversight across government platforms such as GIFMIS and the Treasury Single Account to mitigate such occurrences.

In pursuit of its debt recovery objectives, the Federal Ministry of Finance spearheaded ‘Project Lighthouse,’ facilitating the amalgamation of crucial economic and financial data from disparate agencies hitherto siloed in their information-sharing practices. This concerted effort marks a pivotal step toward fortifying fiscal resilience and accountability within Nigeria’s public sector landscape.

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