EFFECT OF TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT ON THE ECONOMY OF NIGERIA.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In accordance with Executive Order No. 55 (2011), which stipulated that the Bureau of Treasury (BOT) shall operate a Treasury Single Account (TSA) to receive remittance of collections of internal revenue taxes/customs duties from Bureau of internal revenue (BIR)/Bureauof Customs (BOC) authorized agent banks as well as other National Government Agencies from authorized government depository banks.  The TSA, which shall be maintained at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), will  align the government policy of greater financial management and control of its cash  resources and allow the unification of the structure of government bank accounts to  enable consolidation and optimum utilization of government cash resources  (Boulder, CO: West view. Sun Editorial (2015). A treasury single account (TSA) is an essential tool for consolidating and managing governments’ cash resources, thus minimizing borrowing costs. In countries with fragmented government banking arrangements, the establishment of a TSA should receive priority in the public financial management reform agenda. Drawing on the lessons of the Fund’s work in several countries in establishing a TSA, this paper explains its concept, essential features, problems and potential benefits. It also discusses its prospects for financial prudence and effective and efficient management of resources available. Treasury Single Account is a public accounting system under which all government revenue, receipts and income are paid into one single account, usually maintained by the country’s Central Bank and all payments done through this account as well. Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a financial policy introduced by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2012 to consolidate all inflows from the country's ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by way of deposit into commercial banks, traceable into a single account at the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Treasury Single Account policy was established in order to reduce the proliferation of bank accounts operated by MDAs and to promote financial accountability among governmental organs. The purpose is primarily to ensure accountability of government revenue, enhance transparency and avoid misapplication of public funds. The maintenance of a Treasury Single Account will help to ensure proper cash management by eliminating idle funds usually left with different commercial banks and in a way enhance reconciliation of revenue collection and payment (Adeolu, 2016).

Section 80 (1) of the 1999  Constitution as amended states “All revenues, or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation”; successive governments have continued to operate multiple accounts for the collection and spending of government revenue in flagrant disregard to the provision of the constitution which requires that all government revenues be remitted into a single account. It was not until 2012 that government ran a pilot scheme for a single account using 217 ministries, department and agencies as a test case. The pilot scheme saved Nigeria about N500 billion in frivolous spending. The success of the pilot scheme motivated the government to fully implement TSA, leading to the directives to banks to implement the technology platform that will help accommodate the TSA scheme. The recent directives by President Mohammed Buhari that all government revenues should be remitted to a Treasury Single Account is in consonance with the programme and in compliance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution (CBN, 2016).

The Central Bank has opened a Consolidated Revenue Account to receive all government revenue and effect payments through this account. This is the Treasury Single Account. All Ministries, Departments and Agencies are expected to remit their revenue collections to this account through the individual commercial banks who act as collection agents. This means that the money deposit banks should continue to maintain revenue collection accounts for Ministries, Departments and Agencies for onward remittance into Federal Consolidated Revenue Accounts maintained with the CBN. In other words, Ministries, Departments and Agencies accounts with money deposit banks must be zero-rated at the end of every banking day by a complete remittance to the Treasury Single Account of all revenues collected. The implication is that banks will no longer have access to the float provided by the accounts they maintained for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Difference types of account could be maintained under a Treasury Single Account arrangement and these may include the TSA main account, subsidiary or sub-accounts, transaction accounts and zero balance account. Other types of accounts that could be operated include imprest accounts, transit accounts and correspondence accounts. These accounts are maintained for transaction purposes for funds flowing in and out of the Treasury Single Account (Adeolu, 2016). 

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the primary benefit of a Treasury Single Account is the mechanism it provides for proper monitoring of government receipts and expenditure. In the Nigerian case, it is likely to block most, if not all the leakages that have been the bane of the growth of the economy. We have a situation where some Ministries, Departments and Agencies manage their finances like independent empire and remit limited revenue to government treasuries. Under a properly run Treasury Single Account, this is not possible as agencies of government are meant to spend in line with duly approved budget provisions. The maintenance of a single account for government will enable the Ministry of Finance monitor fund flow as no agency of government is allowed to maintain any operational bank account outside the oversight of the ministry of finance.

As a matter of fact, deposit money banks stand to lose immensely from the implementation of Treasury Single Account. This is because of the fact that public sector funds constitute a large chunk of commercial banks deposit.  Indeed, it is estimated that commercial banks hold about N2.2 trillion public sector funds at the beginning of sector quarter of 2016.  The impact of this amount of money leaving the system can be imagined when one considers the fact that each time the monthly federal allocation is released, the banking system is usually washed with liquidity and as soon as this public sector funds dries up through withdrawal by the states, liquidity tightens again with interbank rates going up. Of major impact will be the movement of funds of revenue generating parastatals such as the NNPC, out of commercial banks.

What is TSA?

A Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a unified structure of government bank accounts that gives a consolidated view of government cash resources. Based on the principle of unity of cash and the unity of treasury, a TSA is a bank account or a set of linked accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments (Lienert 2009). The principle of unity follows from the fungibility of all cash irrespective of its end use. While it is necessary to distinguish individual cash transactions for control and reporting purposes, this purpose is achieved through the accounting system and not by holding/depositing cash in transaction specific bank accounts. This enables the treasury to delink management of cash from control at a transaction level. The basic three essential traits of TSA are First, the government banking arrangement should be unified, to enable ministry of finance (MOF) (or treasury) oversight of government cash flows in and out of these bank accounts. A unified structure of government bank accounts allows complete interchangeable of all cash resources, including on a real-time basis if electronic banking is in place. The TSA structure can contain ledger sub-accounts in a single banking institution (not necessarily a central bank), and can accommodate external zero-balance accounts (ZBAs) in a number of commercial banks. Second, no other government agency operates bank accounts outside the oversight of the treasury. Options for accessing and operating the TSA are mainly dependent upon institutional structures and payment settlement systems. Third, the consolidation of government cash resources  should be comprehensive and encompass all government cash resources, both  budgetary and corresponding cash flows are subject to budgetary control or not (Yusuf and Chiejina, 2015).

The TSA is a unified structure of government bank accounts that gives a consolidated view of cash positions. It is part of the Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms under the Economic Reforms and Governance Projects (ERGP). PFM reforms are a part of key pillars of the National Strategy for Public Service reform towards vision 20:20:20. The PFM reforms were designed to address impediments to effective cash. In 2009, the FG sought technical assistance from the IMF to advise on the feasibility of the TSA and a mission report was presented in June 2010. With support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, detailed TSA requirements were developed and in May 2011, the technical report outlining the TSA structure and implementation strategy was approved. A pilot implementation of the TSA kicked off with the inclusion of 6 MDAs in 2011, 87 MDAs in 2012 and 116 MDAs in 2013.

Before the introduction of the TSA, there were several problems plaguing the government. These problems included: inability of the government to determine its cash position at any point in time, unlimited commercial bank accounts maintained by MDAs, growing domestic debt and borrowing not aligned to need, inability to undertake effective cash planning and management as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act and excessive use of ways and means in financing budget. With the TSA, these problems have since become a thing of the past.

The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is a PFM reform designed to improve the effectiveness of storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll of the federal public servants.

The objectives of the IPPIS are to centralize database of civil servants, reduce ghost worker syndrome, minimize wastage of public funds and facilitate easy storage, updating and retrieval of personnel records for administrative and pension purposes. Over 150,000 civil servants are on the IPPIS platform and it has helped save the FG over NGN100billion since April 2007. The benefits of the IPPIS are to ensure storage of records in the centralized personnel database, timely processing of staff emoluments on a monthly basis, prompt deduction and remittance to pension funds, cooperatives and other unions, monitoring of utilized funds derived from unpaid staff salaries among other things.

Prudence and Management: Prospects and Problems Ahmed Adamu Isa Bursary Department, Federal College of Education, Yola. Adamawa State, Nigeria states that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) was recently implemented fully in the Nigerian economy by the present government in order to ensure prudence and probity in the management of financial resources. With the TSA government expects to block all loopholes and leakages of financial resources of the government and also ensure a robust financial management system. The paper therefore provides the  conceptual  meaning of the TSA and also gives its expected benefits to the economy of Nigeria  such as enhance system of financial management and control, unification of various Accounts of government, reduction of the costs of government borrowing and  ensuring of optimum utilization of government financial resources. The paper also analyses the objectives of the TSA systems and its various Accounts such as TSA main account, Subsidiary Account, ZBAs, Transit and Imprest Account among others. The paper finally discusses the prospects of the TSA system and its challenges and concludes that the system requires political will, honesty and determination so as to overcome the various challenges identified in the paper in order to achieve the expected benefits of the system Keywords: Single treasury account, probity, financial prudence and accountability (TSA) is a financial policy introduced by the MDAs and to promote financial accountability among governmental organs. The purpose is primarily to ensure accountability of government revenue, enhance transparency and avoid misapplication of public funds. The maintenance of a Treasury Single Account will help to ensure proper cash management by eliminating idle funds usually left with different commercial banks and in a way enhance reconciliation of revenue collection and payment (Adeolu, 2016).

 

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The TSA provides a number of other problems and despite the fact that, it enhances the overall effectiveness of a financial management system. The establishment of a TSA should, therefore, receive priority in any Government reform agenda.  According to the directive, this measure is specifically to promote transparency and facilitate compliance with sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution. In a statement


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