The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has noted that the quality of leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, which he described as rare courage and political will is a major reason for the successes so far achieved by the Treasury Single Account policy implementation.
The AGF made this disclosure during his welcome Address at the opening of a two day retreat on the one year of the TSA implementation ( the benefits, challenges and way forward) being organised by his office at the International Conference Centre Abuja from 14-15 February, 2017.
Highlighting the successes of the TSA, Idris revealed that the sum of N5.244 trillion has so far been realized as inflows in the TSA account following the moping -up and direct debits of Accounts by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Idris further said that TSA has eliminated multiple banking arrangements in the MDAS and resulted in the consolidation of over 200,000 bank accounts which were spread in Deposit Money Banks across the country . TSA has equally brought transparency , effective tracking of Government revenue as well as blocked leakages and abuse in management of Government finances
“TSA implementation has taken us out of the Era of indiscriminate borrowings by MDAS and saved Government charges associated borrowing which amounted to about N4.7 Billion prior to full Implementation of TSA” the AGF said.
Furthermore, Ahmed Idris revealed that given the considerable gains so far recorded in the TSA implementation, there was need to evaluate the programme and come up with best ways of improving the Policy, which is the reason for the retreat.
He gave assurance that government was considering going beyond the Cash Management of TSA but will explore other viable economic options of resource utilization and deployment especially in this era of economic recession.
In a speech to declare open the Retreat, the Ag. President Prof Yemi Osibanjo GCON, represented by the Special Adviser on Economic Affairs , Dr. Adeyemi Dipelu, congratulated the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and its partners, particularly the IMF and the World Bank for their successful implementation of the TSA.
He underscored the importance of the TSA scheme as being instrumental to the efficient management of Public finances and pledged Government’s commitment towards ensuring improvement in the implementation of the Programme.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun in her speech highlighted the benefits of the TSA saying that it has enhanced greater opportunity in exercising better control over the Financial base of MDAs and allows for critical decisions to be made.
Adeosun explained that attempts are being made to expand the scheme by engaging statutory cooperations to come on board in order to adopt the scheme but identified the major challenge as the uncooperative attitude of some Deposit Money Banks who are still keeping some government funds in their custody.
She however said that Government has been engaging them on the need to transfer funds without identity to the TSA and for the recalcitrant ones, government was making efforts to engage auditors to keep a tab on such funds.
There were presentations from MD Access Bank Herbert Wigwe and Rep. Of the Gov of Anambra state and syndicate sessions which provided the platform for brainstorming on the way forward.
Adeosun who disclosed that the Federal Government is already discussing with service providers said Government would improve the implementation and functionality of the TSA because of its huge benefits.
She also stated that the Government would be reaching out to TSA service providers in order to allow other e-commerce and e-payment providers access the platform, which, according to her, is very important to make the TSA as competitive as possible, in terms of pricing.
“One of the challenges that we have is who should bear the cost of the TSA? Currently, it is being borne centrally but that is not sustainable. We are now working on how to stratify the various agencies. Those who should bear their own costs and costs that should be borne by the Government. This will be rolled out in this year,” the Minister stated.
Speaking to the broader benefits of the TSA, the Minister stated that the Federal Government, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, has issued Circulars to banks arising from revelations through the implementation of the whistleblower policy, that some banks have not fully remitted Government funds in their possession.
She stated, “There are still funds in commercial banks and we have written to the banks, giving them a window to come forward. Where in doubt, they have been asked to consult us. We also have an audit team that has started the process of checking the completeness of monies that were transferred into the TSA and already, they have been able to recover a significant amount of money”.
She stated that the TSA policy is here to stay, saying the policy, which she described as an important reform of the current administration, allows Government to reduce its borrowing costs.
“The policy allows us to manage our treasury functions with far more accuracy than what we had in the past. There is still a long way to go but overall, we are very satisfied with the progress we have made and we look forward to it being extended and utilised far more as the year goes on,” the Minister stated.