EFFECT OF TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT ON MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC SECTOR FUND – FEDERAL SECTOR ESTABLISHMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In 2015, Central Bank of Nigeria issued a circular directing all deposit money banks to implement the Remita e-Collection Platform. The Remita e-Collection is a technology platform deployed by the Federal Government to support the collection and remittance of all government revenue to a Consolidated Account domiciled with the CBN. This marked the beginning of the full implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) system in Nigeria. Though 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. In 2012, the government ran a pilot scheme for a single account using 217 ministries, department and agencies as a test case.
The pilot scheme saved the country 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 all MDA’s in 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 this programme and in compliance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution. Treasury Single Account is a public accounting system under which all government revenue, receipts and income and collected into one single account, usually maintained by the country’s Central Bank and all payments done through this account as well (Lawrence, 2006). The purpose is primarily to ensure accountability of government revenue, enhance transparency and avoid misapplication of public sector 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 (Lawrence, 2006). Government banking arrangements are an important factor in managing and controlling government’s cash resources. They are critical for ensuring that all tax and non-tax revenues are collected and payments are made correctly in a timely manner; and public fund balances are optimally managed to reduce borrowing costs (or to maximize returns on surplus cash). This is achieved by establishing a unified structure of government bank accounts via a treasury single account (TSA) system. A TSA is a prerequisite for modern cash management and is an eective tool for the ministry of finance/treasury to establish oversight and centralized control over government’s cash resources (Williams, 2010).
It provides a number of other benefits and thereby enhances the overall effectiveness of a public financial management system. The establishment of a TSA should, therefore, receive priority in any public financial management reform agenda. A TSA enables regular and effective monitoring of government cash resources/public fund by providing complete and timely information. A TSA also facilitates better fiscal, debt management, and monetary policy coordination as well as better reconciliation of fiscal and banking data, which in turn improves the quality of fiscal information. Also, the establishment of a TSA significantly reduces the government debt servicing costs, lowers liquidity reserve needs, and helps maximize the return on investments of surplus cash.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Central Bank of Nigeria 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 will continue to maintain revenue collection accounts for MDA’s but all monies collected by these banks will have to be remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Accounts with the CBN at the end of each banking day. In other words, MDA’s accounts with money deposit banks must be terrorized at the end every banking day by a complete remittance to the TSA 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 MDA’s. It will help 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 MDA’s manage their finances like independent empire and remit limited revenue to government treasuries. Under a properly run TSA, 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. It is on this note that the researcher is examining the effect of TSA on management of public sector fund.