Rebels with a dark cause…Bank MDs, senators, kick against the TSA bill

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Rebels with a dark cause…Bank MDs, senators, kick against the TSA bill

Rebels with a dark cause…Bank MDs, senators, kick against the TSA bill
November 19
09:58 2015

By Lanre Alfred
·         Why Treasury Single Account initiative scares bank chiefs
·         Senator Dino Melaye’s dull, feeble attack of the scheme
·         Pundits allege senators might be on banks’ leash

Like egotistic tyrants from a tragic past, Nigerian banks’ managing directors (MDs) believed that the bank is mightier than the state. Thus they carried on like barbarians and rampaging pirates plundering our national vessel to pacify their inordinate lust of wealth. Then came President Muhammadu Buhari, and their perverse adventures with Nigeria’s wealth was cut short. The retired general by enforcing his directive that all revenues due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies must be paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) or designated accounts maintained and operated in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) drove local bank MDs and their corporate establishments into a bind.
Among other things, the measure has been described as a welcome development by various segments of the citizenry. It is seen as one of the very good measures adopted by the current administration in its fight against corruption.
President Buhari ordered every Federal Government Ministry, Department or Agency to start paying into a Treasury Single Account (TSA) for all government revenues, incomes and other receipts. According to the directive, this measure is specifically to promote transparency and facilitate compliance with sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution.
A TSA is a unified structure of government bank accounts enabling consolidation and optimal utilization of government cash resources. It is a bank account or a set of linked bank accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments and gets a consolidated view of its cash position at any given time.
This presidential directive would end the previous public accounting situation of several fragmented accounts for government revenues, incomes and receipts, which in the recent past has meant the loss or leakages of legitimate income meant for the federation account to corruption.
Until President Buhari adopted the TSA measure, banks in the country profited immensely from the bazaar of corruption foisted on the nation by Federal ministries and agencies’ operation of multiple accounts with various banks.
Bank MDs in particular, profited from the operation of such multiple accounts as it accorded them the opportunity to pilfer money deposited in such accounts and divert them for personal, selfish reasons. “Many of such accounts are eventually forgotten by the government as bank MDs, often in connivance with like-minded corrupt public officers, embezzle the cash in such accounts,” so argued a source in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Managing director/chief executive officer, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, lauded the enforcement of the TSA saying it signalled the end of the era of armchair banking in Nigeria. According to him, the TSA policy has actually presented banks with an opportunity to diversify their sources of deposit mobilisation rather than simply depending on federal government deposits.

A state’s testimony
Realising the benefits of keeping a single treasury account, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State adopted the TSA. According to him, he adopted the measure to check corruption, block leakages and improve the revenue base of the state. The Niger State governor adopted the TSA initiative following the discovery of 400 bank accounts being operated by ministries, departments and agencies in the state. This according to the governor, made monitoring and control of such accounts cumbersome.
‘’How do we monitor 400 accounts? MDAs open accounts arbitrarily and at will just to keep one fund or the other. That is why we have adopted TSA. There are lots of leakages, wastages and corruption in government,” he said

Bank MDs and senators kick against it
While various segments of the country approve the president’s TSA initiative and appreciate it as a veritable way to check pilferage of public funds, local bank MDs and their cohorts in the senate consider the TSA scheme inappropriate to their economic and political interests. That is why the same senate that makes a public show of fighting corruption desperately seek to thwart President Buhari’s TSA initiative.
The senate’s decision last week to probe the processes of revenue collection into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a clear evidence that key members of the country’s Eighth National Assembly might be in cahoots with rogue bank MDs kicking against the TSA scheme.
Senator Dino Melaye in particular, emerges as the poster-boy of the senate’s misguided passion for probes and sympathy for crooks in the financial sector. The indolence and lack of brilliance becomes so evident in the preparation of the motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye, for the probe of the TSA collection. The points on which the motion was presented was inherently fraudulent. Melaye anchored his motion on several falsehoods among which was his claim that the CBN appointed Remita,which he erroneously identified as a company, as the operations agent for the TSA. Melaye hollered that “the activities of Remita is a gross violation of the BOFIA Act 2007…”
Melaye goofed and his intellectual blandness manifested as he persisted in his frantic bid to discredit the TSA scheme. The truth is, Remita is not a company but the product of a company. It is a software application developed by SystemSpecs to capture all inflows, and an apps available, at a fee, to governments and companies and institutions and organizations that require it. The senator’s motion brimmed with several other inconsistencies and falsehoods that generally, highlights the senators’ obvious lack of the intellectual and moral capacity to perform their duties to the country effectively and efficiently.
Is the senate doing the bidding of aggrieved bank MDs? Why are the lawmakers so eager to shoot down the TSA initiative? What do they stand to profit? Pundits allege that the nation’s Eighth Assembly may have compromised the ethics of their offices by choosing to vote against the TSA bill in frantic bid to express their loyalty to aggrieved bank MDs. So doing, they have betrayed the trust reposed in them by the whole nation.

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