The minister of finance, budget, and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the federal government has recovered N53.5 billion out of N5.2 trillion owed by its ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
Ahmed disclosed this on Monday at the formal launch of Project Lighthouse Debt Analytics and Reporting Platform in Abuja.
She said the project entails using advanced data mining and analytics techniques to identify tax defaulters, establish their tax liabilities and send notifications to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
The minister added that the ministry was leveraging a multi-layer data mining effort to recover huge debts owed to the federal government by various MDAs.
She therefore directed all Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs) and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to henceforth update their list of debtors on a monthly basis against the ‘Project Lighthouse’ debt recovery portfolio.
“Working in collaboration with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), we have been able to recover the sum of N53.5 billion within the last 12-18 months, through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) as a recovery touch-point,” she said.
“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 of 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 further implored all federal government-owned enterprises (FGOEs) and MDAs to update their list of debtors on a month-on-month basis in line with the project’s debt recovery portfolio.
‘Project Lighthouse’ is a data-driven artificial intelligence engine which provides the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning with an intelligence and profiling platform to aid in policy formulation, implementation and assessing the impacts of those policies which would support its MDAs to develop a more efficient revenue assessment methodology by ensuring that major revenue loopholes are plugged, and revenue collection is dramatically improved.