When Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo fired his salvo in form of a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari last week, everyone expected a response. Certainly, there was going to a direct response from the sitting president or one of his aides.
Most people also knew that the response would contain a chronological display Buhari’s achievements in the last two and half years. The most celebrated of which is the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which was implemented in 2015.
It was Alhaji Lai Mohammed who did the honours and on TSA, he declared that “the policy has stopped the hemorrhaging of the treasury. Some N108 billion has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved N24.7 billion monthly with the full implementation of the TSA. The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation N120 billion.”
The foregoing is what Alhaji Mohammed would have every Nigerian know, but there are things he would not want to declare. Here are five of them:
No government MDA has come out to owns TSA
For a policy which is deemed to be the master stroke of the Buhari led administration, there is no government ministry, department or agency that has a direct overview of TSA.
TSA has saved the country billions of Naira but users still complain that there is go government agency at their disposal when they have to call to make enquires.
Policy analysts have said that an office should be created within government to handle TSA related matters since the system processes trillions of Naira for the federal government. In particular, Alhaji Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on TSA, has said that the position of a director specifically assigned to TSA will be a welcomed development.
Payment is not being made to companies that are making TSA work
The banks whose halls, computers and human resources are being used to collect funds into TSA are not being paid for their services.
Also, the technology company that designed and maintains the platform upon which TSA runs has not been paid for the past two years, leaving open the prospect of a collapse of the policy because the Buhari led government has failed to pay for the service it has consumed.
No legislative backing for TSA
Even though Nigerians have unanimously agreed that there can be no going back on the implementation of TSA, there is no law that that directly backs the policy.
The Buhari administration implemented the policy which has been applauded, but there is no direct law which has gone through parliament that establishes the policy. The danger is that any government can emerge and based on sentiment, scrap the policy.
Two years would have been enough for the Buhari led administration to right this wrong, but so far nothing has been done to address this.
Some government agencies are being systematically exempted from TS
Even though the TSA was designed in such a way that all government takings are supposed to go into the system before they are disbursed, there are cases of clear violations.
Specifically, such organisations as the NNPC, the ministry of health and other government parastatals are being allowed to design alternative platforms that can help them circumvent TSA.
Earnings from Nigeria’s foreign ventures are not captured in TSA
Even though the policy is supposed to see to it that all government revenues go into a single account, earnings from foreign transitions undertaken by government agencies abroad are not captured within TSA.
Therefore, the earning from Nigerian embassies are not cancelled into TSA, therefore fraud which is supposed to be prevented by the introduction of TSA can still fester in these remote locations.
Though the TSA is a laudable policy, no government policy is perfect. When any policy is implemented, there are initial hitches which can be corrected as time progresses.