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TSA’s Gains and looming failure, one year after

TSA’s Gains and looming failure, one year after
By September 15, the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in Nigeria will be one year. CHIJIOKE NELSON writes on the gains of the unique innovation so far and impending losses from threats of failure.

The kick off of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) operations in the country was one that generated reactions, with two distinct groups emerging. On the one hand, is the group that advanced fiscal discipline and accountability in public finance management, and on the other hand, those that raised the alarm over the consequences of such policy like job loses in banks, bottlenecks in governance, and a host of others.

TSA is a consolidation of the Federal Government’s revenue into a singular account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for enhanced fiscal transparency and monitoring of government’s financial transactions.

Granted, both sides of the divide now have proof of their arguments earlier, but while no policy has been without side effects, it is only justified by the greater benefits. Rhetorically, is it normal to keep your money with someone and borrow the same money with interest rate to the keeper? Or can you give your money to someone who makes wealth out of it, but without anything for you in return? The answers to these were part of the reasons for the emergence of TSA.
TSA came as a foil to assess mismanagement of public finance between public officials and their collaborators in the private sector- the financial institutions. Within these 12 months, a mix of knocks and kudos have come the way of the policy and the promoters. But just few days ago, nine banks were banned from the interbank foreign exchange market, before one was cleared, over non-remittance of government’s $2.3 billion to TSA.

Last weekend, the nation’s number two public servant, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, admitted that TSA has helped the country in this era of economic challenges, by plugging leakages. Specifically, the Vice President said that 40,000 ghost workers have been eliminated from the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Osinbajo in effect, was saying that the economy gained from the operations of TSA to the tune of the Minimum Wage at N18,500, multiplied by 40,000 ghost workers, which amount to N740 million per month. That is, for a period of 12 months, Nigeria has clawed back about N8.88 billion from that area. This is substantial, especially now that the country is in dire need of anything called money.

Earlier in the year, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said that TSA had saved the economy a whooping N3 trillion. This amount is half of the 2016 fiscal plan and would have been frittered away by fictitious claims, while some being stashed in unknown accounts.

Section 80 (1) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that all revenues raised or received by the Federation…shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federation.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at the All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) 2016, in Port Harcourt, claimed that this administration had managed scarce resources prudently, promoted the administration’s fight against corruption and saved Nigeria from imminent collapse, courtesy of TSA.
Before TSA

Before the implementation of the TSA, government agencies reportedly operated about 17,000 accounts and poorly monitored within the banking industry. The development, which gave rise to corruption, manifesting in fragmented bank accounts, also compromised revenue remittances and deposit dormancy.

Government could not ascertain its financial status and the heads of government agencies were not willing to disclose all, because the system was more like a “meal ticket”. Otherwise, how would the same government borrow from the bank what it already had in the bank?

“This is a national problem that perplexed everybody and when it is solved, somebody said it is expensive. At a point, nobody in the country could imagine the number of bank account.


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