It is Unacceptable For Government Agencies to Flout TSA Policy: The Sun

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SWITZERLAND, NOVEMBER 19 – Nigerian newspaper, Sun, has condemned the alleged flouting of the government’s Treasury Single Account(TSA) policy by some Federal Government agencies.

In a recent online editorial, the newspapers said recent report that some government agencies flouted the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy in the last three years is quite unacceptable.

Read full editorial below:

The recent report that some government agencies flouted the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy in the last three years is quite unacceptable. It is also sad that the ugly development led to huge loss of revenue. A report by an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on TSA just before the end of the 8th National Assembly revealed that many agencies of government did not comply with the policy aimed at tackling financial malfeasance.

While over N10trilion was paid through the platform in the three years of the implementation of the TSA, another N2.8trillion was held back by revenue generating agencies of government. Corrupt officials of government conniving with dubious officials of some financial institutions have allegedly been fingered for the infraction.

In fact, the committee further discovered after a reconciliation meeting between the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in August, 2018 that about $900milion was not remitted to the federation account. Also not remitted was the sum of N1.207billion and Euros 23,704.01, according to the committee report.

Whereas Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit that there shall be paid into an account named the Federation Account, all the revenues accruing to the federation, ministries, departments and agencies of government have tended to act in disobedience of this provision; preferring instead to maintain secret and multiple accounts for the purpose of perpetrating corruption. This age-long practice has denied government the much-needed funds to run its affairs effectively.

With the implementation of the TSA, all government’s revenues are supposed to be paid into a single account which would enable government to determine with a press of the button, all its accruals for any material period and also track all disbursements. The TSA is a good initiative to manage the nation’s revenues but corrupt Nigerians are striving to subvert it.

It is expected therefore that some people would resist the new measure introduced to instill fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability into government business.  For instance, the House committee discovered that in the first three years of the implementation of the TSA, between 2016 and 2018, the amount of money that passed through the platform jumped from N4.21trillion to N9.78trilion. However, a lot of government revenues were still warehoused outside the platform.

These amounts represent huge percentages of the total earnings of government and which if properly deployed would have gone a long way in solving the perennial revenue shortfalls of the government.

To make all agencies of government comply with the TSA regime, a lot of work still needs to be done. There are agencies of government, for example, which think because of the special work they do, they need to be exempted from the TSA. Some of these agencies have been exempted.

The Federal Government should ensure that all agencies that are supposed to be part of the TSA policy are brought in, including those that have reportedly resisted it. At the same time, government must address, once and for all, the apparent lacuna in our laws which led to the creation of government accounts outside the Federation Account. Debates have raged over the legality or otherwise of creating and running separate accounts such as the Excess Crude Account, Sovereign Wealth Fund and the likes outside the Federation Account, no matter how compelling their needs may have become.

Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that flout the TSA policy must be sanctioned. Above all, all concerned ministries, departments and agencies must comply with the TSA. There is no doubt that the operation of the TSA policy has ensured more transparency and accountability in handling government’s revenues.

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