Over 5,000 Debtors Owe FG N5.2trn — Finance Minister

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Over 5,000 Debtors Owe FG N5.2trn — Finance Minister

By Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, has stated that the Federal Government will pursue the collection of N5.2 trillion in debt due by over 5,000 debtors through various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs.

Ahmed made the announcement yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the Project Lighthouse Debt Analytics and Reporting Platform.

The debt was discovered as a result of a 2019 Finance Circular instructing all MDAs and Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs) to provide the government’s credit portfolio in all such organisations, according to Ahmed.

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In the last one and a half years, she revealed that N53.5 billion had been recovered.

Ahmed said: “A perfunctory review of perceived significant leakages in government led the FMFBNP to issue a directive on 26th September 2019, to all government agencies in a bid to aggregate all government debts across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), with a view to having a single window on the credit profile of 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 N5.2 trillion.

“These debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across 10 MDAs. Working in collaboration with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), we have been able to recover N53.5 billion within the last 12-18 month, through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) as a recovery touch point.

“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. The Debt Recovery Unit will capitalise on the effort made by the project consultants to provide the government with up-to-date records into its credit status by harmonising debt records across all MDAs within the country, give debtors access to a platform to view and offset debt in a seamless and secured manner as well as strengthen the institutional framework for enforcement and management of the Federal Debt Recovery plan.”

The Minister charged officials of federal government MDAs and FGOEs to cooperate with her ministry in order to make the initiative successful.

She said, “It is worth noting that the usefulness of this platform for our revenue generation effort will be dependent on your cooperation and commitment in providing quality and relevant debt-related information to populate the platform.

“It is also our belief that your organisation stands to benefit immensely from the intelligence that Project Lighthouse will be producing.

“To this end, I want to use the opportunity to urge all FGOEs and MDAs to update their list of debtors on a month-on-month basis against the Project Lighthouse debt recovery portfolio. This also encompasses the development of an institutional framework for enforcement, recovery and management of the fiscal environment.”

 

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