The Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, yesterday said the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a cash planning and management tool that has helped the country to reduce inflation rate, saying cash inflow into the account has hit N4.36 trillion.
Idris who revealed this at a workshop with the Theme,” Operation, Implementation and Challenges of Treasury Single Accounts” organised by Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria (ICAN) in Lagos said the country lost a whooping sum of N70 billion to failed banks in 2011 when the country was not operating TSA system.
According to him, the N4.3 trillion cash went into 2,568 TSAs, saying in the past ministries department and agencies (MDAs) ran more than 10,000 accounts that were mostly dormant with balances of tax payers money not utilised for the development of the country.
Idris represented by the Deputy Director TSA Collection Funds Department Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, added that TSA is not about revenue collection but rather a cash planning tools for the government to enhance cash planning.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he said: “Even if we detached, accountability transparency and anti- corruption from TSA it is still very important. That is not the reason why government started TSA. It is an anti corruption tool, no doubt but it is more than that .
We are doing TSA because some times in 2011 and 2012 before that time the government of Nigeria working with International Monetary Fund (IMF) during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo first tenure, they carried out a broad financial reform looking at the country financial system and one of the things they asked us to do was to do a census of bank accounts, even though restricted to mainline government ministries we found out that among the ministries that were based in Abuja then there were more than 10,000 bank accounts for about 30 ministries.
“It was not only the number that was the problem, the practice was that when new head of ministry, agencies come on board they will go and open new bank account based on personal interest , forgetting the previous accounts. When they open these new accounts and change signatories whatever balances in the previous accounts remain there. Even Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was coming to us to draw our attention to the accounts, telling us to come and close them.
Idris said the huge sums of money that was being paid as interest on money borrowed from banks ad since been stopped.
Also speaking the President of Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria (ICAN) Mr. Titus Soetan, said the TSA which is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria is a bold and highly commendable move directed at the mainstay of corruption in the polity.
Soetan said: “The implementation of the scheme would enable all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to remit all their revenue collections into a single account through commercial banks acting as agents. At the close of the day’s transactions, the banks are required to remit all the moneys collected to TSA at the CBN. This is a departure from the past, where government revenues are collected through several segmented channels given rise to leakages in the revenue collection chain.
“About 400 days since the commencement of the scheme, ICAN as an Institute whose interest is not limited to its members, but also to the public believes that now is the time to assess the working of the scheme so far to advise where appropriate areas of improvement in order to maximize its benefits.”