The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning says it has stepped up efforts to block revenue loopholes and debt recovery drive.
The director in charge of special projects in the ministry, Victor Omata, stated this on Monday at the zonal sensitisation workshop in Kano.
The workshop was on the federal government debt recovery drive through Project Lighthouse Programme.
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Represented by the deputy director of special projects, Mohammed Sa’idu, he said that the ministry initiated the lighthouse initiative to end revenue leakages in the country.
According to him, over 5,000 companies and individuals across 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies owe the federal government N5.2 trillion.
He explained that the debt came to the spotlight from data aggregated from ongoing debt aggregation efforts from over 5,000 debtors across 10 MDAs by the ministry.
“In a bid to block revenue loopholes and increase revenues, especially from non-oil sources, the Ministry initiated “Project Lighthouse”, which is one of the portfolio projects under the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI).
“This initiative has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data. Revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing and enforcement,” he said.
Mr Omata said data from the initiative revealed that many companies and individuals, who owe government agencies, have refused to honour their obligations but were still being paid, especially through the government platforms.
The director explained that debts were in the form of debt liabilities to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
According to him, part of the measures taken by the ministry to curb revenue leakages include issuing a ministerial directive on September 26, 2019, to all MDAS.
The directive aims to aggregate all government debt across the public finance space and have a Single Window on the credit profiles.
He charged stakeholders on providing quality and relevant information- debt-related- to support the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in improving revenues by targeting and increasing non-oil sources.