The Federal Government has commenced an independent audit of remittances of its funds into the Treasury Single Account by Deposit Money Banks.
The TSA is a platform used by the government to unify all its accounts by ensuring that all funds belonging to the Federal Government are kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The initiative, which began fully in September 2015, has been complied with by over 900 agencies of the government with 20,000 bank accounts closed while over N5tn has been moved from banks to the CBN.
There was a discovery last week that about seven banks had yet to remit a total of $793m government funds into the TSA.
But speaking in Abuja at a two-day workshop for finance journalists on the TSA and other public financial management reforms, the Director, Funds, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Alexander Adeyemi, said a comprehensive audit of the remittances by banks was being carried out by the office.
He said the audit, which was being conducted by renowned accounting firms such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst and Young, would focus on how much of the government’s funds was in banks before the Presidential directive was given; how much was actually moved; and what was still being held by banks.
He said, “The AGF (Accountant General of the Federation) has given the approval for the audit of the entire TSA, and we have reputable accounting firms like Pricewaterhouse Cooper, Ernst and Young that are now doing the audit of the entire TSA so that any money that is still remaining in commercial banks would be discovered.
“They are doing three-leg reconciliation. We are starting out with the balance of the MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) before the Presidential directive. Then, we are proceeding to the CBN in terms of how much was moved. Was it the total money in banks? We are also auditing the balance in these various accounts.
“So, it’s a real comprehensive thing. I must say that some of the lapses that we are seeing, especially among the banks not adhering to the Presidential directive, the truth will surely come out. There is no easy way for them because some few weeks ago, more money was discovered from some of those commercial banks and they are taking steps to ensure the money is brought back into the TSA.”
Adeyemi also said that the government was putting in place a mechanism to monitor and ensure that the funds were paid back into the government coffers.
He said the entire funds in the TSA could not be used to fund all the programmes of government as they belonged to the agencies of government, some of which were for projects of previous years.
He, however, said there were some idle funds of about N300bn in the TSA, which had been invested in the Federal Government treasury bills.
He also spoke on the delay in the payment of the consultancy fees of SystemSpec, the firm whose software was used to move the funds, stressing that a Presidential approval had been given for the release of the funds.
He, however, said what was approved might not be up to N12bn being demanded by SystemSpec due to the huge transaction involved in the movement of the TSA funds.
He said, “The President has approved the amount to be paid to Remita (SystemSpec) for its services and we have been working in line with that Presidential directive. The only problem is that Remita is looking at the agreement with the government before the directive.
“But we are saying that looking at the quantum of transaction of the TSA, if you calculate it based on that, the money that will be paid will be running into over N12bn.
“Initially, when it started, nobody knew it would be like this and we looked at it again, and the government said let us look at it again, and that is why the government has put a committee to work round the clock on this and I believe between now and next week, all that will be cleared.