Project Lighthouse-Debt Recovery Programme

Coat of arms

The Federal Government through the Project Lighthouse programme has been able to recover huge debts, thereby increasing revenues from Non-Oil Revenue Sources.

The Director Special Project Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Victor Omata said this during his opening remarks at the two-day sensitization workshop on Federal Government debt recovery drive through the Project Lighthouse programme held in Ikeja, Lagos.

According to Mr. Omata, Project Lighthouse programme is one of the portfolio projects under the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), that has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies which did not share data.

The important part of the project according to him is the leveraging of big data technology to help in blocking revenue loopholes, identify new revenue opportunities, optimize existing revenue streams especially the non-oil revenue as well as improving fiscal transparency.

He disclosed that data from Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals who owe government agencies, and have refused to honor their obligations were still being paid especially through the government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA) due to lack of visibility over such transactions.

Mr. Omata explained that, these debts are 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 are judgment debt in favour of Government, debts owed Pension Transactional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by Insurance Companies among others.

He hinted that the Ministry has taken steps to address this major revenue loopholes, of which some of the implemented steps includes; the issuance of a Ministerial directive on 26th September 2019 to all MDAs, with a view to aggregating all Government debts across the Public Finance Space, and to have a single window on the credit profile of the government and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) regulatory approval on Wednesday 31st March 2021, and also extend the functionalities of Debt Recovery Capability of the Lighthouse.

This will enable the FMFBNP fully automate the debt recovery process and make settlements of debts as seamless as possible.

The Director further disclosed that the Ministry through the consolidation efforts of the Debt Analytics & Reporting Application has been able to aggregate monumental debts of approximately N5.2 trillion.These debts according to him came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000 + debtors across ten (10) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The debt aggregation effort is still ongoing, he added.

He solicited participants’ commitments to changing the revenue story by innovatively exploiting the great power of Big Data Analytics, Data Science and related technologies. He also asked for their cooperation and commitment in providing quality and relevant information (debt-related data) to populate the platform.

He noted that the organizations stand to benefit immensely from the intelligence that the Project Lighthouse will be producing and counted on their support to ensure the full realization of the goals of the project.

The Zonal programme was well attended as over ninety (90) agencies took part in the workshop; among which are Bank of Industry (BOI); National Center for Technology Management, Dental Therapist Registration Board; Forestry Research Institute of Ibadan (FRIN); National Orthopaedic Hospital; Nigeria Armed Forces Resettlement Center; Nigeria Institute of Science Laboratory Technology; Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER); Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration; University College Hospital; Tafawa Balewa Square Board; Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); among others.

Phil Abiamuwe-Mowete
D (Information/Press)