By Ike A. Offor
I was elated by President Buhari’s comment on Thursday in London with regards to the money saved through Treasury Single Account, TSA. It will only take a fool to say that it is good to lose money, especially through unnecessary avenues. So, TSA was a great thing for the economy to save money for other purposes. But the question is, does it really makes it easy for various ministries to access the relevant funds needed to carry out their jobs.
It would be counter productive if such method of saving money delays lots of works by various ministries, which will give way to underperformance and inefficiency. Though the TSA at hindsight, will reduce the urge to siphon freely flowing money in various bank accounts.
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that his administration has within three months saved N2.2 trillion for the nation through the enforcement of the Treasury Single Account, TSA. The president made the revelation in London during a meeting with Nigerians resident in the city on Thursday night. President Buhari who was in the United Kingdom for the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London, British capital was speaking of the problems bedevilling the oil and gas sector of the economy which he said were part of the challenges he inherited upon an assumption of office.
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI
According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, NNPC had over 45 accounts scattered in different banks. The same situation, the president said, was also pervasive across the branches of the military. He said: “We are really in trouble. What we discovered was that we tried to enforce what we called treasury single account, TSA. And the reason was simple. This government did not initiate it. It was the previous government. But it was so unpopular to the bureaucracy and the previous government for its own reasons couldn’t enforce it. But when we came and found that we were broke, we said this is the way to do it. And I will just tell you two examples to convince you.
“First, NNPC, the cow that was giving the milk had more than 45 accounts, ministry of defense, that is the military Army, Navy and Air Force had over 70 accounts. Tell me which account we can trace in these several accounts. So we enforce TSA. We said there must be TSA. “By the end of December, coming to January this year, that is last month, we mopped up more than N2.2trn which we have used through the bureaucracy system to raise vouchers and sign cheques so that they don’t go into the next budget.”
Another question that was raised by the admission by the President in London which beckons for answer is the principal issue here. It is absolutely great that the government saved money via TSA. The principal question is if this government could realise N2.2trn in three months, that means in the last 8 to 9 months the government must have realised more than N6.6trn. Then comes the principal question, if we are realising so much through plugging these leaks, why is President Mohammadu Buhari going ahead to borrow $2.0bn and $1.5bn from the World Bank and African Development Bank respectively? Such amount realised through TSA and other cost cutting measures should have definitely be enough to offset the budget deficit.