By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has said it has saved at least N540 billion annually in interest payments at N45 billion per month since the treasury single account (TSA) was implemented.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, which speaking in Abuja on Monday, said this TSA policy has brought huge benefits to the country, allowing the government to have more funds to meet some critical needs of the nation.
“On the monetary policy side, we have better control over money supply and, therefore, able to rein in inflation and undue pressure on the Naira.
“Our foreign reserve position has also recorded appreciable improvement through the consolidation of the federal government foreign currency earnings under the TSA,” the Minister said during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on TSA with the Republic of The Gambia in Abuja.
She noted that because of the TSA, Nigeria could now easily determine its aggregate cash balance which is critical for managing public finances at a time of acute fiscal constraints.
The MoU with The Gambia was signed to put the West African nation through with running a single account for government revenue collection system.
In May 2019, the country’s representatives were in Nigeria to understudy the police based on the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After the one-week tour, The Gambia requested for technical co-operation with Nigeria to support its own transition to TSA.
At the event this week in Abuja, Mrs Ahmed said the co-operation seeks to avail the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of The Gambia of the vast knowledge, experience and technical expertise that Nigeria has gained in the past 15 years of implementing TSA in particular and other public financial management (PFM) reforms, in general.
“By so doing, The Gambia is properly guided as it implements its own TSA. The co-operation will enable The Gambia to leverage on the experience of Nigeria to build on our strengths while avoiding our mistakes,” she said, expressing the country’s happiness to “support The Gambia in their bid to implement TSA and other PFM reforms.”
“We are also open to supporting other African countries who may want to build on our experience and significant progress in TSA implementation. It is our belief that African countries are better off learning from each other and supporting each other because of our shared culture and history,” the Minister added.
“To start with, as with all governance reforms, you need strong political support to deal with the heavy lifting that comes with PFM reforms. Do not embark on this journey if you are not confident that you have the buy-in of your topmost political leadership.
“It is the most potent antidote against the several headwinds that will try to undermine and derail your reform effort,” Mrs Ahmed advised The Gambia.
Advising further, she said: “Next in line is to assemble the right team of competent and committed reformers with in-depth knowledge of PFM. Upon that team will rest the responsibility of translating policy into action and by so doing, ensuring that your TSA expectations are met. There are more factors at play. You need, for instance, the financial resources and an enabling environment to drive reforms.
“The importance of the synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities, she also said, cannot be over-emphasised. Equally important, according to her, is the co-operation of other stakeholders: the parliament; the ministries, departments and agencies of government; the banks and service providers.
“Above all, the general public, on whose behalf government exists and manages public funds, must be convinced that TSA and other reforms are being implemented in their interest and for the good of the country. “As is the case in Nigeria, when you have their support, they will take it upon themselves to be against forces of resistance and any attempt at derailing the reforms.”
Responding, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance of The Gambia, Ms Ada Gaye, expressed her country’s happiness to be in Nigeria to sign the MoU, saying that the … tour has helped them to understand the workings of the TSA.
“The Gambia wants to efficiently manage its funds; the fragmentation of accounting systems in The Gambia is huge. It is, therefore, noteworthy for The Gambia to adopt TSA. Though … is still … We are going to create the needed sensitisation to help the people of The Gambia understand the process. Nigeria is the big brother while The Gambia is the small brother. We are happy to cement this brotherly love.”
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