That anyone could contemplate the above question in spite of the widely celebrated successes recorded by President Mohammadu Buhari’s government with the enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy should be of grave concern to those in the presidency.
Two years into the implementation of TSA policy that has ensured N7 trillion has been seamlessly wired directly into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, no government agency can be said to be directly responsible for the strategic direction, day-to-day management, public sensitization, research and development (R&D) of the policy. It is highly doubtful if there are any clear plans and performance projections for TSA in 2018. Who has responsibility for drawing such plans?
Some analysts have dubbed the TSA as “an orphan” on account of this cheerless development. But I would describe the TSA as the proverbial community she goat that nobody wants to feed but whose offspring the entire community would want to own.
The revelations emerging from the House of Representatives panel probing the status of TSA, chaired by Representative Abubakar Nuhu Danburam (APC, Kano), have simply been astounding.
Even at the hearing, the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], hosts of the TSA payment gateway (Remita) and the sole treasury custodian, declined to take responsibility for the management of the initiative. The office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) would equally not take full responsibility for the initiative.
Therefore, when the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF) complained of non-carry along and limitations in accessing the TSA accounts at the CBN, the apex bank had suggested that the OAuGF should access the TSA through the OAGF. But the OAGF in response only complained of its own limitations too. You may recall that the current CBN governor had earlier disowned the TSA during the early days of its travail on the floor of the Senate.
Playing the ostrich with such a serious national initiative like the TSA would do the country no good.
It however seems that, things have since turned from bad to worse. To state it clearly, it has been established that waivers have now been granted to exempt some government agencies from complying with the TSA policy in fragrant violation of President Mohammadu Buhari’s executive orders.
While the TSA guidelines are being disregarded with impunity without anyone taking responsibility for enforcing compliance, it has also been confirmed that the government owes the TSA technology service provider and the banks billions of naira in fees despite presidential approval for the settlement of the fees.
The Ministry of Finance appears to be helpless or bereft of powers required to take full charge of TSA since it has no supervisory control of either the CBN, or the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation..
It is crystal clear that the current “owners” of the TSA whoever they may be, lack the capacity to effectively manage this very important national program. Hence the urgent need for the government to set up a full TSA program office under the Presidency. The office should have a Director General that is fully responsible to the President, giving the sensitivity of the initiative to our national life at this point..
The roles of the CBN, OAGF, OAuGF would be clearly stated and adequately aligned with the new thinking while the office would be solely responsible for policy direction and guidelines, operational management, compliance monitoring & enforcement, stakeholders management ,public awareness and sensitization, and program improvement of the TSA.