No less than 20,000 bank accounts in commercial banks belonging to Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been closed since the Treasury Single Account (TSA) kicked off in September 2015.
The TSA is a platform which was used by the government to unify all its accounts by ensuring that all monies belonging to the federal government are kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The initiative which took off fully in September 2015 had been complied with by over 900 government agencies with a total sum of N5.24tn moved into it. Since its commencement, there had been series of job losses in banks owing to decline in deposits.
The federal government has described the implementation of the TSA as one of the success stories in the management of public finances in the country.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ali Ahmed Idris, made this known in Abuja, while speaking at the opening session of a two-day retreat on TSA.
Idris explained that through the policy, government has been able to block leakages and abuse which had characterized the public sector before its commencement in October 2015.
Apart from blocking leakages, Idris said the TSA initiative has assisted the government to overcome the burden of indiscriminate borrowings by MDAs thus saving government a lot of bank charges associated with these borrowings.
For instance, he explained that prior to the full commencement of the TSA, the government was incurring about N4.7bn monthly on bank charges, adding that this has been eliminated through the TSA initiative. In his words;
“The TSA journey started way back in April 2012. That journey could not see the light of the day as no significant gains were recorded largely due to the lack of political will. However, the issuance of the TSA circular in August 2015, coupled with the political will and enforcement, enabled us to achieve considerable progress on the TSA implementation.
“As at the 10th of February, 2017, the total inflow of funds through the mop-up and direct debits by the Central Bank of Nigeria amounted to N5.24tn. We have successfully eliminated multiple banking arrangements, resulting into the consolidation of over 20,000 bank accounts, which were spread over the Deposit Money Banks across the country.
“This has further brought about transparency and effective tracking of government revenues.”
Also in attendance at the two-day retreat were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal among other top government officials. The event was themed; “One year anniversary of Treasury Single Account: Benefits, challenges, and the way forward.”
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun disclosed that the Federal Government would expand the coverage of the TSA to more agencies this year, and would continue to persuade statutory agencies to come under it.
Adeosun stated that the Federal Government was already discussing with service providers, adding that it would improve the implementation and functionality of the TSA because of its huge benefits.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had claimed the TSA was stalling research in Nigerian universities. The union had therefore, asked the Federal Government to exempt universities from it.