The House of Representatives Thursday urged the Federal Government to sanction and prosecute all defaulting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private persons, private organizations as well as banks that violated the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
The House reached the resolution at plenary when it adopted the recommendations of the Ad-hoc Committee set up to ascertain the proceeds of TSA to enhance transparency, accountability and good governance, chaired by Danburam Abubakar(APC, Kano) after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.
The lower Chamber of the National Assembly therefore mandated the Ministry of Finance, Office of Accountant General of the Federation and Central Bank of Nigeria to intensify efforts to enforce full implementation and compliance with TSA policy by all MDAs.
According to the recommendations, MDAs which have violated the TSA policy should be sanctioned accordingly while the Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation should be directed to publish, sanction/prosecute with immediate effect all MDAs, Private Persons, Private Organizations as well as banks where FGN Funds are hidden based on the discoveries made in the report of the consultants engaged by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and review the compliance with the TSA.
The legislators also called for “a legislation to provide laws to guide and strengthen the enforcement of the TSA Policy and the House should commence the process of enacting enabling laws to cater for the inadequacies of the TSA Guidelines.
To ensure accountability of all the funds accruing to the Federation, the House further tasked Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Central Bank of Nigeria to “develop and propose funding arrangements with the indebted banks to fashion modalities to enable the banks refund all MDAs outstanding balances to the TSA/Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
“In this regard, a form of facility window may be created by the CBN to enter into a financial arrangements with the Debt Management Bureau where public funds are trapped.”
The House also asked Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to carry out a quarterly appraisal and reconcilation of the TSA/CRF account and publish reports on the performance and effectiveness of the TSA policy.
The office of Auditor General of the Federation was similarly mandated to carry out performance and financial audits on quarterly and annual basis and publish same for transparency and accountability.
Worried by the abuse of the TSA policy implementation since inception, the House recommended that “payments outside TSA policy such as sending manual payment mandate to CBN and transfer of large funds to transit account at CBN or DBMs accounts not belonging to the Federal Government and making payment from thereon should be suspended as it is seen as an attempt to circumvent the TSA policy.”
The House also recommended that issues bothering on the Nigerians Ports Authority (NPA) fund totaling €6,626,429.59 seized by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be resolved immediately and the funds released to the appropriate owner while EFCC should be informed in writing to immediately refund the same into the TSA account with CBN.
It further recommended that “Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should make full disclosures on the nature and status of the fund held in the NNPC Pension Fund Limited domiciled with Aso Savings and Loans Plc and Unity Bank. The House should request the NNPC to make this disclosure with immediate effect.”
The Lower Chamber also urged Ministry of Finance, and Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) to make a definite/appropriate categorization of the Brass LNG Dividends as a Federation Account item or as an Independent Revenue of the Federal Government.
It recommended that subsequent funding and expenditure of the Brass LNG Project should be done based on approved budgetary provisions by Appropriation Acts and the funding shall be done through the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC)/Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
Furthermore, the House adopted the recommendation that MDAs that relate with foreign bodies, development banks and corporate entities such as NEXIM Bank, Bank of Industry, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria Football Federation and Nigerian Foreign Missions should be granted waivers/exemptions from TSA considering their peculiarities.
In the same vein, the House proposed that the revenue collection arrangement entered into by Industrial Training Fund (ITF) with Puzzle Technologies Limited be suspended and Ministry of Finance as well as Office of the Accountant General of the Federation should immediately conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the arrangement.
More so, the House recommended immediate take over of the assets used for the Assets Swap for the Aso Savings and Loans Plc debt owed various MDAs and urged Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to communicate and inform the relevant MDAs to take advantage of the offer.
The Green Legislative Chamber called for collaboration between Ministry of Finance, Office of Accountant General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Systemspecs to activate the Foreign Currency Component of the TSA so as to ensure that the full gains of the TSA policy is achieved as well as close up any loophole that may jeopardize the TSA policy.
James Kwen, Abuja