The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has berated the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions and Public Accounts, for recommending the termination of the 2013 contract awarded to SystemSpecs by the Central Bank of Nigeria for electronic collection and remittance of government fund, through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
President of the Information Technology Systems and Security Professionals (ITSSP), an arm of NCS, Mr. Rogba Adeoye said: “Calling for the termination of the contract at this period is not right, as it is being interpreted as stoppage of TSA operation.” He said instead, the Remita, which is the indigenous software developed and used by SystemSpecs to effect the TSA operation and its intellectual property should be encouraged and promoted to other countries to earn Nigeria foreign exchange.”
According to him, SystemSpecs used the Remita software application to support TSA and save Nigeria of huge financial loss, when it was needed most, insisting “that the termination of the contract will derail the TSA operation, undermine anti corruption stance of the current national government, discourage local Information Technology (IT) innovation and will kill local content initiative of the federal government.”
He said: “This is our stand as regards indigenous software product of our own, that the contract should not be terminated, but allowed to stay as one of IT products to enhance good government service delivery and transparency.”
Also commenting on the Senate recommendation, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, said the company had always respected the terms of agreement it had with the federal government on TSA. According to him, “It is fulfilling to note that the Senate report did not accuse Remita of under-delivering on the substance of the contract and that our efforts are recognised as having played a significant role in the life of the nation when it mattered and that the disagreement has only been on the commercial terms of our contract.”
The Senate, last week, passed resolutions asking the federal government to urgently terminate the 2013 contract between the Central Bank of Nigeria, and SystemSpecs. It also came up with a resolution halting further deductions the federal government could have paid of the N25 billion contract sum to SystemSpecs, based on the charge of one per cent transaction fee for all collections.
The Senate also asked the CBN to ensure that the total refund of the portion of the deductions were retained by the CBN and the Deposit Money Banks, (DMBs), and present evidence of compliance to the appropriate Senate committee. It said consequently, the TSA transaction fee of one per cent for e-collection and transfer for any computation should be disregarded, just as it urged the CBN to carry out an in- house inquiry to sanitise its procedure for award of contracts as well as identify the culprits in the purported contract.
But in a swift reaction, Adeoye clarified that CBN Governor and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) had confirmed that the payable charges as stated in the contract, is N7.8 billion as at time of sitting and not N25 billion as earlier speculated.
He said the Senate review as related to the chargeable cost should not be in retrospect as it could discourage local IT innovation and empowerment since the contract offers future renegotiation.