The Africa Leadership Strategy and Transparency Development Initiative (ALSTDI), has urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to extend its ongoing investigation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to include their level of compliance to the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The nonprofit initiative in a statement on Thursday in Lagos by its Executive Director, Mr Nelson Ossaieze, also implored the Federal Government to explain its decision to transfer the burden of transacting with the TSA to the citizens.
This, ALSTDI said, was in line with international transparency best practices.
“It is indubitable that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account policy is one of the most significant achievements of the current Federal Government administration.
“This feat is despite the alleged non-compliance or partial compliance by certain MDAs and exclusion of foreign accounts from the scheme.
“Therefore, the need arises for the ICPC to openly investigate the level of adherence to the policy by MDAs in order to consolidate on the remarkable achievement of the policy thus far,” it said.
It noted that in November 2018, the federal government suddenly directed that the cost of operating the scheme should be transferred to the payers who were the citizens.
The group also said the change, according to the Accountant General of the Federation, was premised on the unsustainable nature of the cost of servicing the policy.
“Non-card payments to the government now attract a flat service charge of ₦157.50K and card payments now cost ₦150 plus 0.75 per cent of the amount being paid, subject to a maximum of ₦1,200 per transaction.
“Understandable as this appears, owing to the long-term impact on the nation’s economy, the lack of proper public sensitisation leaves much to be desired from the FG.
“Surprisingly, Nigerians are unaware of the policy change prior to the effective date.
“Reports indicate that the operators, like other players in the process, has this sudden reality forced on them.
“FG must bridge the inherent knowledge gap in the public space by embarking on a nationwide sensitisation campaign and highlight the long-term benefits rather than allow the current misinformation to linger,” it added.
ALSTDI, however said, it was aware that the current rate was lower than the global industry benchmark.
It also said that, the current economic realities of the country implied that such changes could not be made without proper and due consideration of the average Nigerian.
The body advised Federal Government to assent the minimum wage bill, implement the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other initiatives to significantly lessen the burden on Nigerians whilst sustaining the gains of the TSA.
Posted by Yetunde Adegoke