- TSA as Transparency Enabler, Not Anti-growth
Difficult times have been well assessed by experts as a period of more want, with less satisfaction. It is also a period of rather than more alternative solutions, but blames, as well as regrets. The Treasury Single Account (TSA), which is gradually assuming a household recognition in the country, is not totally a unique phenomenon, it is global issue, with varied nomenclature.
The second is that the money gathered by TSA was returned to the owner- government, which hitherto was borrowed “ignorantly” for a fee. Besides, while the tenor or period of the “free ride” lasted in the hands of those holding the money, they never reported how much they earned without paying the owner any fee to owner.
Of course, the inflation rate hit an 11 year high at 17.9 per cent in September 2016, and expected to breach the 18 per cent mark by October data. It is worth noting that had the pool of fund sterilised by TSA been in the banking system, it would have fueled more inflation than at present.
While the assessed “idle” funds created by TSA are not encouraged in a system that needs free flow of funds, the decision to still keep them idle is a policy matter and power of negotiation by those who really need them. The TSA has done its work of gathering the “scattered” public fund together, it is left for policy makers and businesses to re-engage the pool.
We call it TSA and in other jurisdictions, they call it something else, but the objective and process are one- making the financial position of government transparent and effective. Almost, if not all the governments of the world, operate it.
Complaints against economic policies, with the TSA receiving some major knocks, have made informed commentary a necessity, especially as the reforms to restructure and institute openness in governance gather momentum.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in August 2016, said that 40,000 ghost workers had been discovered with the help of the TSA scheme, thus promoting transparency in governance. This figure, when multiplied by the current Minimum Wage of N18,000 amounts to N720 million monthly and N8.64 billion yearly.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in March this year’ said that the programme has assisted the government in recovering funds exceeding ₦3.3 trillion in less than a year of enforcement. While this amount may not be physical clawback of Naira, it signals amount that would have been lost to the “old ways” of doing things.
Prior to the enforcement of the TSA scheme, Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) of the republic ran over 17,000 lax bank accounts. With the implementation, over 900 MDA’s operate the TSA, hence cutting costs of governance.
Some state governments such as Lagos and Kaduna have bought into the programme in a bid to promote accountability in governance. They realised that the long term gains of the policy is enormous.
The multiplicity of bank accounts operated by MDA’s enabled banks to run an eccentric financial system whereby funds from the loose government accounts were loaned back to the government at a high interest rate. These excesses have been cut with the implementation of the TSA thereby exposing their shortcomings in performing their financial intermediaries. They have now diversified.
Unfortunately, some organisations, as well as industry leaders have joined in blaming the TSA scheme for the economic downturn, which could falsely lead one into believing that the TSA is a nefarious plot to impair the populace’s standard of living. If government has the penchant of delaying the release of project funds, it is not because TSA is in operation, because it takes a signature or order where applicable for the fund to be released”
TSA might be seen in bad light in the country however, globally, it is a standard for public accountability.
Here are some of the things everyone needs to know about TSA or be reminded of:
TSA is a financial policy established by the Federal Government to consolidate all revenues and payments from its various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) into a single account or a group of linked accounts domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
TSA was initiated by the previous administrations, but executed by the current government. Even President Muhammadu Buhari has attested to the fact that it is a laudable idea during his session with the Nigerians living in the United Kingdom in February.
Sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that there should be a Consolidated Revenue Fund for all revenue and other moneys raised and received by the Federation. TSA, according experts, is in compliance with this section of the constitution. This, so far, has put all conversations centering on its legality to silence.