By Folasade Folarin
The federal government has contracted reputable firm to comprehensively audit Treasury Single Account (TSA) to trace government’s money still with banks.
Mr Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), gave the approval for the auditing, Mr Alex Adeyemi, Director of Funds, OAGF, has said.
He said at the conclusion of a two-day media sensitisation workshop on reporting TSA organised by the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
Adeyemi said reputable accounting firms have been employed to carry out the audit so that all government money still with commercial banks would be discovered.
“They are doing a three-legged reconciliation audit and we are starting from the balances of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) before the presidential directive on the TSA policy.
“Then we will look at when the money was moved to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and how much was moved.
“We will also look at the accounts after the MDAs had written requesting for their money, then they will audit the balances on the various accounts,’’ he said.
Adeyemi said the TSA has really been of tremendous benefit to the Federal Government and the economy at large, because it had helped with the budget’s proper implementation.
He said from the 2016 budget alone, government was able to disburse about N1.219 trillion for the implementation of capital projects, a landmark achievement that had never been recorded before.
“In the time past what would have happened was that the money would immediately be moved to the commercial bank accounts of the various MDAs and the money would be sitting idle in those banks.
“It may even not be used for the purposes intended or be diverted for unprofessional purposes,’’ he said.
The director also stated that with the implementation of the TSA, the AGF could give the consolidated cash position of the Federal Government.
He said contrary to popular belief that the monies in the TSA should have been re-invested instead of idling away, the funds actually belong to the MDAs and they have been accessing them to run their activities.
He said at the inception of the policy’s implementation, MDAs came forward to lay claim to their money and reconciliation was done to confirm their claims.
He said after the reconciliation, the funds were moved into sub-accounts for the MDAs to continue the implementation of day-to-day activities.
Adeyemi said that the funds in the TSA that could not be claimed by any MDA was called idle funds, and government provided a CBN special window so it could be invested into treasury bills that would further bring returns to the government.
He said that the idle funds at some point was over N300 billion, but that the figure was not static as more money keep going into the account.
He added that the money would definitely form part of the funds for the implementation of the 2017 budget.
He said the TSA was also a guaranteed way of securing government money from insecurities that may arise if commercial banks went under.
“If the CBN is the custodian of the monies, the government can rest assured that nothing would happen to it, unlike with the commercial banks that anything can happen.
“It indeed happened in time past and government lost about N70 billion in 2004 with commercial banks,’’ he said.
Adeyemi also assured that the outstanding fees owed Remita for services rendered would be paid as the President had approved how much should be paid to the firm.
Remita is an e-Payments and e-Collections platform adopted by the CBN for the payment and collections of funds on behalf of the Federal Government.
He said the bill which accrued was about N12 billion, but that the government decided to look into it properly to ensure that it gets value which was what delayed the payment.
“Government has set up a committee and is working round the clock on this and I believe that between now and next week all that will be cleared.
“As at yesterday (Wednesday) the memo that emanated from that committee had gone to the President for the formal approval of the money that they should be paid.
“The good thing about the Remita is that it is a Nigerian made software to manage the TSA process, so the money is still within the Nigerian economy and not going out as it will have a multiplier effect on our economy.’’ (NAN)