Random Musings

The Burden of Treasury Single Account (TSA) — why government must upgrade

Nigeria's treasury single account system can do with some upgrade
Written by yeye

I am not a fan of media News; it is all too depressing these days to listen or watch as one sad news follow another but occasionally an on line news article will pique my interest like the one that motivated this article  which I pulled from here. As my eyes ran through the two minute read time piece several thoughts crossed my mind. I share those thoughts below.

The newspaper article is in italics my comments are in bold print underneath.

I don’t claim to possess any expert knowledge of the subject matter: TSA accounting and government receipts processes or methods consequently if any of my arguments are unrealistic or impractical  please feel free to educate me using the comment section, there is nothing I love more than to learn new stuff.

Having said that before I delve into the main gist of this article let’s digress and touch on a global phenomenon– The appalling behaviour of people on the Internet generally and how quickly discussions deteriorate into verbal mud slinging attacks in comment section of articles, making a decent dialogue impossible. It was no different with this article. It is a shame how Nigerians pass on opportunities to discuss critical economic and fundamental issues that affect us all, dissipating energy on banter and useless rhetorics. what I could not otherwise post in that comment section are highlighted below in bold print.

“Henceforth, the Federal Government will no longer bear the service charge cost on all payments to its Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as such costs will be borne by the payer.”

what are these cost and what exactly does said cost comprise e.g. are they bank charges, cost of processing receipts etc 

The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, said this in a statement issued by Director, Press, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Johnson Oise, on Sunday in Abuja.””Idris said that the Federal Government had spent N16bn on Treasury Single Account transaction cost in two years.”

Downright wasteful, 16bn is a staggering figure and I think a responsible government should not be proposing  ‘just passing’ this cost onto Nigerians. How about government and its agents employ technological methods as it is done everywhere else in the 21st century to minimise transaction cost. Merely passing it on is lazy and reactionary IMHO

He said that right from the inception of TSA, the Federal Government had been bearing the cost of transmission of funds and would not want to do so anymore.”

Wholeheartedly I agree government should desist from such willful waste of carrying cost that can be completely eliminated if only government can be proactive and modernise its methods, structure and machinery.

“Within the last two years, government spent almost N16bn in this direction which, ordinarily, should be borne by those making payments.

I reiterate this humongous cost can be minimised or completely eliminated if, the federal government and its agents will opt for 21st century tools as opposed to the moribund, non-effective, archaic and outmoded structures. 

So, it is time for Nigerians to pay for the services that they receive and government will take whatever is due to it without necessarily incurring cost.’’

Yes, Nigerians at any rate already pay for services, oft doubly : many are the incidents of double taxation. An acceptable and win-win resolution will be one which employs effective and efficient methods of collection and payments lowering cost to: Nigerians, government and service provider. it is doable if government is innovative, honest, fair and committed. 

“In the old tariff regime, the Federal Government bore the charges on all transactions to the service providers on behalf of payers.’’

Again what are these charges are they real or money cost, it will be nice to know the nature of these cost/charges  

technology and nigerians

a proactive government employs innovation and technology!!!

Idris said a lot of sensitisation had been done to give enough room to understand the new tariff regime and for compliance, adding that the charges were minimal and negotiable  “By negotiable, I mean by introduction of more players in the market, definitely the charges will come down from whatever they are now, but right now discussions are going on to make the charges as minimal as possible. “We are liberalising the market and it has to be a level playing field for all operators to operate and that is what will happen.’’The AGF said that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the regulator which stipulates the rates of the charges would always intervene if any service provider charges beyond the approved rate.

Arbitrary charge is an element of primitive collection method a real time application will completely eliminate all discrepancy such as arbitrary charges and similar issues. A real time collection system may be costly to acquire it will however lower cost and create a win-win scenario in the long term.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that TSA is a public accounting system using a single account, or a set of linked accounts by government. The aim is to ensure that all revenue receipts and payments are done through a Consolidated Revenue Account at the CBN. receipts and payments should be happening real time online at any rate and what cost will that possibly be

The scheme which commenced in 2012 uses a unified structure of accounting for MDAs to ensure accountability and transparency in public fund management.

Final thought

There is so much we each can do to turn the fortune of this great nation around.  To uplift Nigeria out and away from her current status of impoverishment we must collectively cultivate the habit of making demands on the political class, government and its’ agencies. Lets desist from useless banter & rhetorics and use the technology at our disposal positively. No time in human history has it been more possible than now to start a revolution of CHANGE without blood let; welcome to the 21st century where technology rules!

Thank you for reading.


yeye is an agnostic pantheist who borrows a leaf from all known perennial wisdom traditions, a chela that drinks from the cups of wisdom presented by custodians of ancient traditions. She lives life on her terms.

About the author


yeye is an agnostic pantheist who borrows a leaf from all known perennial wisdom traditions, a chela that drinks from the cups of wisdom presented by custodians of ancient traditions. She lives life on her terms.

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