• Friday, May 24, 2024
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FG recovers N5.2trn from 10 MDAs via project lighthouse

Through its ‘Project Light House Programme’, the federal government has recovered the sum of N5.2 trillion aggregate debt from 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Aisha Omar, the director of special projects at the Ministry of Finance, disclosed a one-day sensitisation programme for the North-East Geopolitical Zone programme on the Federal Government’s debt recovery drive through the Project LightHouse Programme in Gombe State on Tuesday.

According to Omar, these debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000 debtors across ten MDAs, as the project lighthouse initiative was designed to help solve the intractable and perennial problem of debt recovery by using big data analytics technology.

She said, “The core focus of Project Lighthouse is to leverage on big data technology to help block revenue loopholes, identify new revenue opportunities, optimize existing revenue streams, especially non-oil revenue, as well as improve fiscal transparency.

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“The essence of the initiative was the recovery of debt owed to the Federal Government by individuals and companies through the debt recovery capability of Project Lighthouse engine.

Representing the director, Bridget Molokwu, deputy director of the particular projects department at the ministry, said that the system collects, integrates and analyses data from revenue-generating agencies to create insightful information for improved decision-making on debt recovery.

According to her, the project’s importance includes leveraging big data technology to help block revenue loopholes, identifying new revenue opportunities, optimising existing revenue streams, especially the non-oil revenue, and improving fiscal transparency.

She revealed that many companies and individuals who owed government agencies and refused to honour their obligations were still being paid, especially through government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA), due to a lack of visibility over such transactions.

“Debts were in the form of debt liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); refunds to the Government by companies which failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been effected, unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA). Others were judgment debt in favour of the Government and debts owed to the Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by insurance companies, among others.

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“Debt recovery would reduce the country’s indebtedness, track day-to-day revenue generation, get a true profile of our debt recovery portfolio, and block revenue leakages and loopholes. Project Lighthouse initiative has come with this recovery process.

In his remarks, Abraham Atteh, Project consultant, explained that the program was aimed to track, retrieve and recover government debts.

He added that with the initiative, every entity that does business with the government will be able to pay debts owed to the government, adding that systems will be put in place to block loopholes created by these entities.

He explained that the government was putting every technology in place to recover its debts owed by private and corporate entities, adding that those categories of debtors would be tracked using existing technology.