The directive by President Mohammadu Buhari that all revenues due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies must be paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) or designated accounts maintained and operated in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been described by the house of assembly as a bridge of their autonomy.
President Mohammadu Buhari had in his Presidential Media Chat on Sunday January 3rd said that his aim to implement his policy of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which is seen by many as a welcome development and one of the very good measures adopted by the current administration in its fight against corruption, has been challenged by the National Assembly.
The two chambers said that agreeing to President Buhari’s statement would amount to, “surrendering their autonomy to the executive.”
Speaking to the press on the stance of the senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who is the senate’s spokesperson made the following statements:
“There is no trouble on TSA, it is as an executive programme and we cannot surrender our autonomy to the executive.
Submitting ourselves to the TSA is surrendering our autonomy to the executive. We are on the first line charge as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Why should we give you our funds to put in the TSA and then we will be subjected to your own control, is that autonomy?”
That is just the issue; we’ve given our total support to the TSA programme. As far as we are concerned, we cannot subject ourselves to it because it amounts to mortgaging our autonomy.
Our autonomy is guaranteed by the constitution and how our money should be paid is also guaranteed by the constitution.
Are we saying our autonomy should be jettisoned? Are we a revenue generating arm? Are we saying that the constitution should be jettisoned, because somebody wants to do TSA? Are we going to put the Constitution aside and follow somebody’s wish? What we are following is constitutional,
Speaking further on the issue, Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas, the spokesman of the House of Representatives, restated that TSA remains an executive policy. “Every arm of government has its ways of operations. The issue of TSA is an executive matter, and in as much as we want to work together with the executive for good governance, we are not part of TSA for now” he said.
The Treasury Single Account is one of the financial policies implemented by the federal government of Nigeria to consolidate all in flows from all the ministries, departments and agencies in the country.
The TSA can therefore cover all funds including earmark and extra-budgetary accounts or even funds held in trust by government. To make this work, accounting systems must be robust and capable of accurately distinguishing trust assets in the TSA.
Meanwhile, some fears have been raised about the policy. One of such major concerns as noted by Peter Agada, a Lagos-based financial analyst, is that the implementation of the policy will have a spiral effect on the entire Nigerian banking industry.
Other financial analysts stated that commercial banks, may be left with no option than to downsize. Report also has it that since the announcement, some of the banks have commenced laying off of some of their staff on the excuse that they would no longer be able to maintain them given the massive withdrawals of funds by the MDAs from their existing accounts in compliance with the directive.
furthermore, report has it that the nation’s banks might be losing about N2 trillion deposits to the CBN, with the implementation of the TSA. This may have been the reason why bank treasurers, in countering the policy, have argued that the implementation would adversely affect liquidity in the banking system and end up putting pressure on interest rates and availability of credit to the economy.
Nonetheless, most Nigerians seem to be pleased with its implementation. They believe that scattering government funds in different commercial banks serve as conduits for the perpetration of fraud by government officials in the MDAs. This new method is expected to block such leakages, thus enhancing openness and accountability in the running of government businesses.