• As FG saves N4bn monthly on MDAs bank accounts
By Emma Njoku
The Federal Government has said over N7 trillion was recorded in the nation’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) towards the end of March 2017.
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, who disclosed this also said the amount represents monies belonging to different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) put in portal to enable government view the entire balance as one.
He further said the federal government now saves additional N4 billion monthly, which could have been held by banks, thereby, leading to total collapse of government activities, were it not for the implementation of the TSA.
“When we say we have over N5 trillion in TSA, it does not mean free funds for spending. 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 government is borrowing to fund budget. These are budgeted monies for MDAs for projects and developments,” Idris said.
“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 continue. 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,” he said.
The AGF wondered why one university would have over 120 bank accounts, with some of them hidden and carrying huge balances.
“We also discovered costs associated with keeping these multiple bank accounts. Every month the government incurs over N4 billion in maintaining these accounts, yet it is borrows money. Sanity was brought with the introduction of TSA.”
On transparency in the disbursement of federation account monthly, the AGF noted the government cannot be trusted if it says one thing and does another.
“The meager revenue that has been accruing is being judiciously used and there is fiscal discipline in management of public resources. Let me give you an example; in the previous administration, there was a time state governments kicked against savings.
Now, because of what is being practiced by the government of the day, they have decided to imbibe the culture of savings.”
The AGF said excess money realised from the budgeted Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) is usually saved.
“Before now, state governments and other stakeholders would say it should be shared. And this is what has been giving us buffer, especially at this time of recession.
“Despite the lean resources, we take from it and augment accordingly. And this is being done transparently. All the stakeholders are aware of balances at any point in time. Whatever revenue that comes in is shown at National Economic Council meetings, including all the governors who will be briefed by the Minister of Finance. T
hey have seen the openness and have accepted what government has put in place and the economic team. This is why we are achieving remarkable success amidst recession,” the AGF said.