—We Would Have Sunk in Recession If Not TSA, Says AGF
Accumulation and consolidation of funds into the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) has hit over N7 trillion.
Also the Government is saving N4 billion monthly through the TSA administration of funds which has helped to reduce multiplicity of accounts kept by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), locked fund leakages and reduced costs of maintaining accounts.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris made the disclosures in an interview granted to Economic Confidential Magazine.
He noted that the introduced TSA saved the nation from sinking due to the effects of the recession.
He however, explained that the funds are not free funds but belonged to the various MDAs for defined purposes which it had been budgeted for.
According to the Accountant General of the Federation, “When we say we have over N5 trillion in TSA, it does not mean free funds for spending. No! no! no! These monies belong to various ministries, departments and agencies put in a portal in such a way that you can view the entire balance as one.
“The movement is now over N7 trillion. But as I explained earlier, these are not free money. People should not be thinking of why is government borrowing to fund budget. These are budgeted monies for MDAs for projects and developments.
“But let me also make a strong and important point. If not because TSA is in place and now that the recession is here, only God knows what would have happened. A monthly drain of over N4 billion and yet no revenue coming in and leakages continued. It could have been a disaster.
“It was government’s foresightedness and focus even as TSA was in place before the recession. And that is why we are floating and not sinking, and we will not sink, God willing.”
Idris explained the essentials of the TSA noting that it was introduced due to obvious shortcomings in handling government funds.
He said: “Firstly, revenues were not accruing the way they should. Secondly, there were leakages even in the little that was coming in. Thirdly, there were borrowings associated with multiplicity of banks accounts being operated by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“The government just felt there was need to bring sanity. For instance, why will one university have over one hundred and twenty bank accounts, and some of them even hidden and missing and carrying huge balances.
“We also discovered that there are costs associated with keeping these multiple bank accounts. Every month the government incurs over N4 billion in maintaining these accounts!
“Yet Government is borrowing its own money. And to stop government from borrowing its money and for the fact that there were no commensurate returns on such monies, it was double tragedy!
“This is like a sword with two sides that can cut from any of the sides. Sanity was brought with the introduction of TSA. It has achieved its principal objective of consolidating Federal Government banking arrangement and providing a single window for determining government cash position.
” It has also assisted in blocking leakages and bringing about transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.”