President Muhammed Buhari’s recent directive for all ministries, departments and agencies to operate a Treasury Single Account for e-collection of government revenues is not punitive, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, has said.
Mr. Idris’ clarification followed fears by some specialized government agencies that the policy would adversely affect their operations, rather than enhance their efficiency and boost the performance of the country’s economy.
The AGF was speaking when members of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of the Federal Universities visited him in his office in Abuja to discuss issues bordering on the smooth operation of the universities.
“The introduction of the TSA is not a punitive measure targeted at any government establishment, or an attempt to jeopardize the peace and stability of the university system,” the AGF said. “It is part of the reforms being introduced by this administration to institutionalize a more effective and transparent management of public finances in the country.”
He maintained that the TSA was aimed at creating a single pool where all government’s revenue receipts would be kept in one account, to make it possible to know the state of all the accounts at a glance.
To ensure a hitch-free implementation of the TSA policy, Mr. Idris said the Office of the Accountant General (OAGF) has constituted a special committee headed by a director, to address all issues or enquires from all affected MDAs.
The Committee, he pointed out, was also given the added responsibility to ensure that the operations of specialized agencies like the universities were not hampered by the project.
The AGF reassured the Committee of Vice Chancellors that his office would collaborate with the universities to ensure that all concerns would be addressed, to ensure that the universities were more efficient and transparently managed.
The leader of the delegation and Secretary of the Committee of Vice chancellors, Michael Faborode, informed the AGF that the universities, by virtue of their operations and services, were peculiar establishments that should not be regarded as purely public service or revenue generating agencies.
Calling for a review of the TSA directive by the circular as it concerned the universities, Mr. Faborode expressed fears that its implementation in the University system may distort the its effective functioning, since their allocations were hardly enough to carter for their basic needs.