- Accountant General: TSA Now over N7tn
The federal government has recorded over N7 trillion in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) as of March ending 2017, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, has said.
In an interview with the Economic Confidential in Abuja, Idris further said the amount represents monies belonging to different ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) put in a portal in such a way that government can view the entire balance as one.
“When we say we have over N5 trillion in TSA, it does not mean free funds for spending. These monies belong to various ministries, departments and agencies put in a portal in such a way that you can view the entire balance as one.
“The movement is now over N7 trillion. But as I explained earlier, these are not free monies. People should not be thinking of why is government borrowing to fund budget. These are budgeted monies for MDAs for projects and developments,” he explained.
Idris said the federal government, through the implementation of the TSA, has saved additional N4 billion monthly which could have been held by banks, noting that a total collapse of government activities would have occurred were it not that TSA was in place.
According to the AGF, “But let me also make a strong and important point. If not because TSA is in place and now that the recession is here, only God knows what would have happened. A monthly drain of over N4 billion and yet no revenue coming in and leakages continued. It could have been a disaster. It was government’s foresightedness and focus even as TSA was in place before the recession. And that is why we are floating and not sinking, and we will not sink, God willing.
“For instance, why would one university have over 120 bank accounts, and some of them even hidden and missing and carrying huge balances. We also discovered that there are costs associated with keeping these multiple bank accounts. Every month the government incurs over N4 billion in maintaining these accounts! Yet government is borrowing its own money. And to stop government from borrowing its money and for the fact that there was no commensurate returns on such monies, it was double tragedy! This is like a sword with two sides that can cut with any of the sides. Sanity was brought with the introduction of TSA.”
Speaking on the transparency in the disbursement of federation account monthly, the AGF noted that transparency and openness are key to the present administration, adding that it is a desire to institute discipline, good governance and trust.
“The government cannot be trusted if it says one thing and does another.
“The meagre revenue that has been accruing is being judiciously used and there is fiscal discipline in management of public resources. Let me give you an example in the previous administration. There was a time state government kicked against savings. Now because what they know and being practised by government of the day, they have decided to imbibe the culture of savings.
“What am I trying to say? We have excess Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT). These are excess taxes from petroleum tax. When we get money over and above budgeted figure, the excess is always being saved. If it were before, state governments and other stakeholders would say it should be shared. And this is what has been giving us buffer, especially at this time of recession.
“Despite the lean resources, we take from it and augment accordingly. And this is being done transparently. All the stakeholders are aware of balances at any point in time. Whatever revenue comes in is shown at National Economic Council meetings including all the governors who will be briefed by the Minister of Finance. They have seen the openness and have accepted what government has put in place and the economic team. This is why we are achieving remarkable success amidst recession,” he said.
On staff welfare, Idris said: “The welfare of the staff of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is one of my cardinal objectives since I assume office. It is even a core objective I must say as managers of the treasury. Welfare as you may know promotes the best out of the staff apart from making them serve the system very well. There are different types of welfare for the staff of the OAGF. Some border on entitlements, training to enhance the capabilities of the staff. We have also done very well in the provision of brand new staff buses we sourced from public spirited organisations including banks.
“On the part of the Federal Treasury Academy, we have done very well in building hostel facilities, renovation of infrastructure and provision of generators, furniture for the classrooms and the auditorium and the provision of sporting facilities among others. Right now, there is an ongoing discussion with some real estate developers to build four hundred one bed-room and two-bedroom houses at our land situated at Federal Treasury Academy Orozo, Abuja.”
According to him, “These developments are targeted at lower cadre officers. All these are some of the initiatives we have put in place. We pay the first 28 days to staff on first come first serve basis and each month we set aside the sum of N5 million towards that. Any staff that gets admission to tertiary institutions on part-time basis and would not disrupt his or her job schedule is allowed. So far we have given approval to such staff almost one thousand, most especially Nasarawa State University and University of Abuja.
“We train them and also promote them, we maintain facilities here at the headquarters, we maintain and buy new furniture, apart from making the office environment conducive for work. This is part of motivation, this is part of welfare.”
Fidelity Bank Promotes 745 Staff Members
Seeking to increase staff morale while empowering them to work more efficiently, Fidelity Bank has announced the promotion of 745 employees following the performance review of two financial years – 2019 and 2020.
A total of 461 staff members benefited from the FY 2019 promotion exercise, while 284 staff members benefited from the FY 2020 exercise. The beneficiaries cut across the senior, middle, and junior management cadre of the bank, and the promotion was based on merit, using a transparent and robust performance management system in line with global best practices.
Speaking about this, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc said “I am very delighted to announce the promotions for 2019 and 2020 financial years. Releasing the list for 2 financial years’ promotion at the same time is something we are very proud of. We strongly believe that the continuous growth of our bank over the years has been largely attributed to the commendable efforts and unrelenting sacrifices of our employees. Promotion is one of the many ways we express our gratitude. We are thankful to be home to many amazing talents that continue to drive our value and most importantly, serve our stakeholders to the highest standards.”
Speaking further, she said. “Since I was appointed the MD/CEO of our great bank in January 2021, I have been committed to a 7-point agenda to move our bank further, out of which workforce transformation is a key category. Staff performance and reward are critical to us, and as an organisation, we will continue to make available adequate resources to deepen the skills and entrench a culture of high performance amongst employees. I wish to appreciate all members of the Fidelity Bank family for their commitment and drive and unrelenting sacrifices towards delivering our objectives. As we move forward in our quest to becoming a leading tier-one bank, I encourage all elevated staff to see their promotion as a call to rededicate themselves to excellence.”
Fidelity Bank has continued to empower its employees with invaluable resources capable of putting them at the forefront of innovative transformation. In March 2021, the bank announced two capacity-building projects – One Culture Project and Project Alpha – that were targeted at transforming the workplace for its staff. In particular, Project Alpha was created to help Fidelity Bank develop a robust and holistic learning and development framework for all staff while One Culture Project was formed to reinforce the behaviour and value systems that will help the bank, as well as staff, achieve set goals.
Nigeria’s Central Bank To Launch Digital Currency On Oct 1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will launch its much-awaited digital currency on October 1, to mark Nigeria’s independent anniversary.
CBN Director of IT Department, Rakiya Mohammed, revealed this at a private webinar, explaining that the banking sector regulator had been conducting research towards the launch of digital currencies since 2017.
She added that the central bank may conduct a proof of concept before the end of the year. The move to adopt the digital currency was first mulled by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in May.
He had said a digital currency will soon become a reality in the country, adding that the central bank had already set up its committee which was working on the concept.
The CBN governor had further restated the determination of the apex bank to drive the e-Naira project during the recent 306th Banker’s Committee meeting, pointing out that the process was ongoing.
Mohammed was quoted by Nairametrics to have highlighted the benefits of the digital currency, saying it would enhance macroeconomic management, boost economic growth, facilitate cross-border trade, boost financial inclusion and monetary policy effectiveness.
Mohammed said the digital payment instrument would further improve payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social intervention.
She added that the innovation would also benefit the fintech ecosystem by enhancing operational efficiency, opportunities for fintech start-ups in building services and products as well as financial inclusion that will contribute to economic growth, and the creation of a new system complimenting the traditional payment system.
Mohammed had last month said the proposed digital would be launched before December. According to her, every Nigerian would have access to digital currency.
She had while briefing journalists at the end of a Bankers’ Committee meeting said: “Let me state categorically that cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and the rest of them are not under the control of the central bank; they are purely private decisions that individuals make and are not part of this arrangement.
“We have spent over two years studying this concept of central bank’s digital currency and we have identified the risks. And it is one of the reasons why I said we are setting up a central governance structure that would involve all industry stakeholders to access all the risks as we continue on this journey.
“Very soon we would make an announcement on the date for the launch and by the end of the year, we should have the digital currency.”
According to her, about 80 percent of central banks across the world are presently exploring the possibility of issuing the central bank’s digital currency, saying that Nigeria cannot be left behind.
Mohammed had added: “You are aware that we have two forms of fiat money: The notes and the coins. So, the central bank’s digital currency is the third form of fiat money. So, this digital money is going to complement the cash and note that we have.
“The central bank digital currency will just be as good as you having cash in your pocket. So, if you are having the currency in your pocket, you are as good as having cash on your phone.
“Now, why did we need to go into this? There are different cases that the central bank is looking at.
UK Financial Reporting Council Sanctions KPMG On Quality Of Banking Audits
The United Kingdom Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has sanctioned one of the biggest audit firms, KPMG LLP over the quality of its banking audits which U.K.’s industry regulator said it was “unacceptable” that for the third year running the accounting firm’s work wasn’t up to scratch.
The FRC in its annual report released on Friday examined the U.K.’s seven biggest auditing firms, which include Ernst & Young and Deloitte, said almost 30 percent of all bookkeeping was below par in the year to the end of March.
“Overall Inspection results at KPMG did not improve and it is unacceptable that, for the third year running, the FRC found improvements were required to KPMG’s audits of banks and similar entities.
“Given the systemic importance of banks to the UK economy, the FRC will be closely monitoring KPMG’s actions to ensure findings are addressed in a timely manner.
“KPMG has agreed on additional improvement activities to be delivered this year over and above its existing audit quality improvement plan,
“In response to our findings this year, the firm’s senior leadership has committed to making further changes necessary to improve audit quality in time for 2021 year-end audits.
“We will monitor these closely to assess on a timely basis the extent to which they address our findings,” the report released on Friday stated.
The FRC said that “We will also continue to focus our inspections on KPMG banking audits.”
The regulator said central to achieving consistent audit quality is a healthy culture within the audit practice that encourages challenge and professional skepticism, as it set out in its letter to Heads of Audit
in December 2020.
“We have a major project underway to examine audit culture, including an international conference held in June this year on the subject.
“Operational separation of audit practices from the rest of the firm should help the largest firms to focus on developing an appropriate audit culture,” the FRC stated.
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