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Legislature, Judiciary Shun TSA As Transactions Hit N30trn



Seven years after the federal government commenced the gradual implementation of the Single Treasury Account (TSA) in 2012, the legislature and the judiciary are yet to comply with the policy.

Even without the participation of the two arms of government in the scheme, transactions in the TSA have reached an all-time high of N30 trillion, the executive arm of government has said.

TSA is a unified structure of government bank accounts where revenue accruing to Ministries, Departments and Agencies are paid into one account before disbursement. The policy enhances the consolidation and optimal use of public funds.

Surprisingly, the legislature and the judiciary are yet to key into almost four years after the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari made it mandatory for all MDAs and all arms of government.

The refusal of the judiciary and legislature to join the platform which also seeks to entrench transparency, accountability and ease of transactions across government establishments was announced yesterday in Abuja by the director in charge of TSA in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh.

He told journalists that the refusal of both the judiciary and the legislature to join the platform was simply “political”.

Okolieaboh said:  “In terms of coverage, everybody is in apart from the judiciary and the National Assembly. But their non-involvement is something that is a little bit political. It’s something we intend to look into in the coming months.”

The director, who said the policy enjoys 100 per cent support from the executive, quickly remarked that “the coverage is not 100 per cent. The inability of the judiciary and the National Assembly to join is political. But I believe it’s something that can be sorted out…”

He also disclosed that the TSA policy has recorded about N30 trillion transactions, with about N10 trillion passing through the account in terms of cash remittance and withdrawals.

According to him, “if you are looking at transactions in terms of turnover, we should be talking of about N20trillion and N30 trillion. Remember money is in and out of the TSA.”

Okolieaboh spoke on the sideline of a visit by a delegation from The Gambia to Nigeria on a European Union (EU)-funded visit to understudy the implementation of TSA in the country.

The Gambian team led by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ada Gaya and the country’s accountant-general, Momodou Lamin Bah, met with some government officials, including the minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the accountant-general of the federation, who was represented by the director of Funds in OAGF, Muhammad Usman, in Abuja.

Okolieaboh, however, did not disclose the current balance in the TSA.

In her welcome address, Ahmed said that the coming of government officials from The Gambia to understudy the successful implementation of TSA in Nigeria reaffirmed the fact that what Nigeria had done with the policy was a good example.

Ahmed said: “TSA has helped us to enforce our liquidity management. We have been able to track transactions that are coming in or going out. And every agency of government has an account in the TSA. Because the funds are pooled, it has helped us to enhance liquidity management.

“Without TSA, you have a lot of challenges with accounting preparations and liquidity management,” she added and advised the visitors to also understudy the implementation of the TSA in some states of the federation that have differences in operation with the federal government.

Ahmed further charged the delegation to learn from the Nigerian experience and improve on management of their country’s funds.

The Gambia’s accountant-general said that the aim of the trip is to “make a big impact, a big outcome from this visit. We want to make sure all areas are covered using technology. We want to know how Nigeria has done it. We want to enhance the payment system with EFG. We want to do away with manual payment. We want to know how you are handling revenue management,” he stated.

The Gambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amadou Sheikh Taal, expressed optimism that the delegation would learn a lot from Nigeria’s TSA policy. “That is the way it should be because we are members of one community,” he said, adding that if the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is able to achieve a single currency, “it will help us in terms of trade, and there is free movement of people; trade will be facilitated.”


Reps Decry Reckless Spending By MDAs

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has expressed worry over the reckless spending of public funds by MDAs.

The chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Kinsley Chinda, stated this yesterday during an interaction with newsmen in Abuja on the activities of the committee.

Chinday said that nothing has really changed from the reckless system of public spending by MDAs.

He said: “Not much has changed. Public spending is still not very responsible and so we need to begin to change. One of the problems we have is that our institutions are very weak, the government is not making efforts to strengthen the institutions and, therefore, when you talk about the fight against corruption, you find out that it might not be sustained because the institutions that ought to fight corruption are not strengthened.”

He stated that unless the Audit Commission Bill is assented to by the president, reckless spending would continue to derail the fight against corruption.

The lawmaker revealed that the committee has cleared the auditor-general report from 2010 to 2014 and also laid the 2010 report before the National Assembly.

Chinda disclosed that 552 MDAs were queried by the office of the auditor-general between 2010 and 2014, adding that of that number, the committee was able to consider 512 of the queries.

He said: “During the exercise, the committee was also able to, in 2010, recovered or mapped out the recovery sum of N1. 967billion. And then, we also referred to the relevant authorities; that is, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigeria Police, the sum of N72. 567 billion and $1. 819 million for recovery.

“Among the fixed assets, two Peugeot 504 cars, one Peugeot 406 valued N1.46million, and then one berretta pistol and 13 round live ammunition were also returned to the federal government,” he stated.



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