The permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Aliyu Ahmed, says more than 5,000 companies and individuals spread across 10 Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) owe the federal government about N5.2 trillion.
Mr Ahmed stated this at the zonal sensitisation workshop on Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive Through Project Lighthouse Programme held in Minna.
According to him, the debt came to the spotlight from data aggregated from ongoing debt aggregation efforts from more than 5,000 debtors across 10 MDAs by the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning.
Represented by the Director, Special Projects, Victor Omata, he explained that the lighthouse initiative which was initiated by the ministry had enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies that, hitherto, did not share data.
Mr Ahmed further said that all the recoveries made during the ongoing debt recovery effort of the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning went to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for prompt action.
According to him, revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing and enforcement of the need for this workshop to sensitise and educate participants to better ways of addressing tax evasion by companies and individuals for growth.
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger described the initiative by the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning as apt, timely and appropriate.
Represented by Secretary to Niger State Government Ahmed Matane, the governor frowned at ways individuals and companies, sometimes, deliberately refused to pay taxes to relevant government bodies.
He promised that the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning of Niger would continue to support the ministry.
The workshop which was more of an interactive session saw the presentation of various papers such as Public Finance Sustainability, among others, by many resource persons.