From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris, yesterday revealed that Nigeria has collected more than N2.7 trillion ($13.57 billion) through the Treasury Single set up by government to consolidate all states revenues in an effort to improve fiscal transparency. He further stated that these monies belong to Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and meant for their operations and not for sharing or for any other purposes as being reported in some quarters.
According to Idris, the TSA has helped government to have a firm and full control of its resources, block leakages, helped it reduce the cost of borrowing and to monitor spending in the MDAs.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected on an anti-corruption ticket and who has said he believes government officials have stolen around $150 billion from the public purse in the past decade, ordered all state accounts to be merged into one last August.
Speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, Idris said that all ministries and state agencies now pay their revenues into the account, held at the central bank and known as the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Before now, ministries and agencies of government operated more than 10,000 bank accounts with commercial banks.
But the TSA has helped government to have a firm and full control of its resources, blocking leakages, helping it to reduce the cost of borrowing and to monitor spending,” Accountant-General Ahmed Idris said in a statement issued by his office. Nigeria is going through its worst economic crisis in years due to the fall in crude prices. Oil receipts provide about 70 percent of state income.
In February, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, said the account contained N2.2 trillion, and the figures compare with a record N6.06 trillion budget planned by Buhari for the year to March 2017 to stimulate the economy.
The budget also projects a deficit of N2.2 trillion, over which the authorities have held funding talks with the World Bank, African Development Bank and China Exim Bank.
Meanwhile the AGF has given assurances that the Federal Government was working out modalities to ensure that payment of its workers salaries now be before 24 or 25th of every month.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Idris, said that there is a standing instruction from President Muhammadu Buhari, for workers to be paid on or before 24th or 25th of every month, but regretted that compliance to this directive has been hampered by the limited resources available to government which can only be determined after the monthly FAAC meeting.
He explained that the government has taken further steps to make a provision that will accommodate salary payment even before FAAC. The AGF promised that his office is working assiduously to ensure that it complies with the directive of President Buhari to pay salaries on or before the 24th or 25th of every month, assuring that the necessary approval would be sought and gotten to ensure that this becomes a reality.
Recall that since the introduction of TSA at the beginning of this administration, salaries of some federal establishments are paid in arrears leading to disenchantments among some federal government workers.