In the past few months, as the watchful public may recall, UGRFP have been at the forefront of its call for non-prejudiced transparency, accountability and efficiency in the manner and means the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is being run.
Our thorough investigations on the workings of the TSA threw up hitherto unknown circumstances, challenges and suspicious activities. Among several matters we discovered the following, THAT-
A. The Treasury Single Account is effected through the e-collection platform, REMITA, owned by a private company known as SystemSpecs.
B. That SystemSpecs, up until November 1st, 2018 duly received payment for their service from the federal government of Nigeria.
C. That from the date in Part (b) above till date, the general public have been responsible for paying SystemSpecs for the running of REMITA at N150 per transaction (for non-card payers including 0.75% of the amount being paid subject to a maximum of #1200 for payers using cards) made into a government account.
D. That the Central Bank of Nigeria, without due regulation, imposed the charge in Part (c) without making recourse to the National Assembly or sensitizing the public to the rationale for the strange charge.
The meeting which held on the 17th of June, 2019 being a Monday at 3:00pm prompt, between UGRFP and the Director of Treasury Single Account on the behalf of the Accountant-General of the Federation was thus to address the issues raised in Part I above and all other matters incidental thereto.
The Director of the Treasury Single Account stated that his office have acted in good faith at all times and categorically stated that the level of compliance with the TSA directive is 100% so far. He, however, conceded that certain accounts belonging to some MDAs were yet to be reflected on the TSA platform.
Some of these federal ministries/departments/agencies, he avowed, enjoy exemptions on grounds recognized by the government while some others continue to illegally operate accounts on the fringes of regulation.
On the issue of the service of SystemSpecs, UGRFP affirmed through the Director of TSA, Sylva Okolie Abor, that there was no contract between SystemSpecs and the Nigerian government. He stated clearly that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) acting as a banker for the Nigerian Government procured SystemSpecs to provide a platform to effect the TSA scheme which birthed REMITA.
The Central Bank of Nigeria imposed the N150 charge per transaction for ‘regulation and service rendered’ immediately after the Federal Government of Nigeria stopped bearing the cost of running the Treasury Single Account policy.
When request was made on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act for full information on current TSA balance, funds realized and spent so far on the scheme, the Director of TSA stated that the rigidity of bureaucratic bottleneck must be met such as seeking qualifications from its legal department on whether such an information can be freely given to the public. He also advised that the application for these details would be best served and met if made when the country had an appointed Minister for Finance.
Our team, led by the Director of United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP), Mr. Shalom Olaseni, thanked the Director and his team for their time while also commending some of the successes that have been recorded by the scheme under their care.
Being at the vanguard of the call for transparency and accountability in the Treasury Single Account scheme, UGRFP stated its commitment to working and partnering with the public and private sector in ensuring that the scheme is not hijacked nor brought to ruin by incompetence, shady deals and negligence.
We reiterated our position that paying N150 is a needless cost borne by the Nigerian public. It is our position that there is indeed room to review the service charge from N150 to no more than N50 payable per transaction and at the expense of government .
The Treasury Single Account is a government programme not unlike other infrastructural engagements such as road building and construction of bridges. It is only common sense that such expenses be borne by the government paid prior or in arrears as circumstances demand.
It is also our position that there is an urgent need to legislate on the treasury single account scheme to give it a legal instrument that makes it not just a state policy but one that cannot be arbitrarily done away with by consequent governments.
In view of the above stated positions, UGRFP will continue to make its demands known to critical stakeholders in the public and private sector. In the next few weeks, we shall be detailing our plans to hold a conference as a referendum on the TSA policy to discuss its gains, challenges and areas for caution.
Executive Director (UGRFP)