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The study examined the effects of treasury single account policy on corruption in Nigeria: analysis from 2011 to 2017. The study adopted a cross sectional survey design and used questionnaire to generate its data. The population of the study consisted of 6393 staff from the federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Rivers State. The sample size of the study was determined at 377 staff through the use of Prof. Taro Yameme sample size method. The data were analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics. The study found that the treasury single account (TSA) policy was introduced to block financial leakages, reduce corruption, promote transparency and prevent mismanagement of government's revenue in public sector organisations. The study revealed that the major challenges hampering the effective and efficient implementation of the treasury single account (TSA) policy include: Inability of federal government to remit appropriately to the various MDAs, uncertainties underlying federal government inactions and actions, bottlenecks/ bureaucracy, internet platform delays, inefficient human capital development and time wasting in the banks and payment points. It is evident from the study that the policy will pave the way for the timely payment and capturing of all revenues going into the government treasury, without the intermediation of multiple banking arrangements. The policy will also enable the government at the centre to know its cash position at any given time without any hindrance. The study therefore, recommends that government should secure as soon as possible the appropriate legislative support to facilitate the relevant regulatory environment which will drive the effective implementation of the treasury single account.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The treasury single account (TSA) is a unified structure of government bank accounts enabling consolidation and optimal utilisation of government cash resources. Through this bank account or set of linked bank accounts, the government transacts all its receipts and payments and gets a consolidated view of its cash position at any given time, (CBN, 2015). President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to all federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to start paying all government revenues, incomes and other receipts into a unified pool of single account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is a bold and highly commendable move directed at one of the bastions of corruption in the polity, namely, public institutions. Apparently, a master stroke against a tactless financial strategy emanating from an unholy alliance between banks and MDAs, the current implementation of this unified accounting structure, rightly called the Treasury Single Account (TSA), is laden with high expectations of economic prospects owing to its possibility of ensuring transparency and accountability, (Adeolu, 2015).
Treasury Single Account (TSA) is bound to improve transparency and accountability in public finance management. First, it will remove that organisational secrecy around the management of public finances. The discretionary aspect of accounting officers and politicians collaborating to do all manner of business with government finances before executing projects thereby causing delays or negotiating interest rates with banks for private gains will be over. The second is that revenue generating agencies that have been depriving the Treasury of due revenue through a plethora of bank accounts under their purview and which is not known to the authorities will no longer be able to defraud the revenue since all funds will be swept into the TSA., (Akinmutimi, 2015). Thus, beyond transparency and accountability, the TSA will introduce economy and efficiency into overall management of public finances and this will in the long run lead to effectiveness of government spending since it places government in a better position to realise overall policy goals. (Abayelu, 2015).
In practical terms, there is palpable optimism that with diligent implementation, the TSA will enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public funds. Furthermore, the practice should expectedly capture additional revenue to effectively fund more capital projects that will lift the social welfare of Nigerians, (AU/ECA, 2015). As laudable as the directive on TSA suggests, it is fraught with challenges which this administration may want to address for it to serve its purpose. In an economy, notorious for late passage of budgets, a TSA regime may hamper disbursement for capital projects and operational projections of MDAs, unless as some argue, a certain percentage of government receipts are retained for smooth operations by these MDAs, (Vanguard Editorial,2015:16). For foreign exchange generating organs like the NNPC, whose transactions are often denominated in dollar, the TSA regime may be said to likely affect optimal business operations and corruption propensities may reduce in some MDAs. Banks that sit idly waiting for government funds to fall on their laps rather than seek out and manage depositors’ funds for economic growth and their profitability would need to re-strategies. In the light of the above background the study seeks to examine the effects of treasury single accounts policy on corruption in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The directive by the President that all revenues due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies must be paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) or designated accounts maintained and operated in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been described by many as a welcome development. It is seen as one of the very good measures adopted by the current administration in its fight against corruption. Corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system and kept us in a terribly precarious situation that made our great country, Nigeria, to look poor, despite the huge human and natural resources we are divinely blessed with. According to Eze Onyekpere, the Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice, a civil society group based in Abuja, “The TSA is a process and tool for effective management of government’s finances, banking and cash position. In accordance with the name, it pools and unifies all government accounts through a single treasury account. The advantages and benefits of the TSA are legion. The consolidation into a TSA paves way for the timely capture and payment of all due revenues into government coffers without the intermediation of multiple banking arrangements.” (Vanguard Editorial ,2015) Notwithstanding some of the worries raised against the TSA concept, most Nigerians seem to be pleased with its implementation. It is believed, as pointed out by John Ocheni, a Lokoja-based business entrepreneur that scattering government funds in different commercial banks serve as a conduit for the perpetration of fraud by government officials in the MDAs. The thinking is that with this new method, leakages would be blocked and openness and accountability enhanced in the running of government businesses. Justifying the order for the operation of TSA, which is aimed at promoting transparency and facilitating compliance with sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia said: “The position of the constitution is that all revenues should go into the Federation Account. Before now, all agencies were allowed to generate revenue, use part of it to fund their operations and then remit the operating surplus to the Federation Account. But, this act is a further confirmation of the federal government’s resolve that the provision of the constitution must be adhered to. And, with all revenues going into a single treasury account, government will have an overview of the money it has in its account and better plan its expenditure. So, the leakages that used to be there in the system where people used money as they want and decided what to return to the government will no more be there. So, there is a better control and management of government revenue.” In his reaction to the TSA policy, a development economist, Odilim Enwegbara, who commended the efforts of Buhari, said: “with TSA leading to the closure of about 10,000 multiple bank accounts operated by MDAs in commercial banks, banks will have to wake up from their slumber. This is because the era when government’s money is either lent back to government or invested in forex speculations is over. It also means that no longer at Bankers’ Committee meetings should member banks demand that the CBN pursues their self-serving high interest rates to their benefits and those of heads of MDAs who placed public money in their high-interest-yielding fixed deposit accounts. (Daily Trust Editorial,2015:22) According to the Accountant General of Federation, (AGF), “out of the 900 MDAs, about 600 of them have so far fully complied with the directive on TSA, while others are still at different stages of compliance. He said contrary to media reports that some MDAs were exempted from the exercise, no agency had been excluded from complying with the directive by the FG”. (Jegede,2015). He further stated that the policy if implemented would also help government to block leakages in revenue and increase transparency and efficiency. Some MDAs, Daily Trust learnt that claimed not to be affected by the new policy. It was gathered that most of the MDAs are against the TSA for fear of losing control of monies they have stationed in their choice banks’ accounts. It was also learnt that some agencies stationed the revenue they generated in fixed deposit accounts where fat interests accrues and are siphoned. Also, it was gathered that banks also benefited from such funds by using it to buy government securities such as treasury bills, certificates and bonds to make quick returns. Since last year, the Federal Government kept postponing the policy due to non-compliance. In one of the circulars, the OAGF gave a February 28, 2015 deadline. The circular said the implementation of the TSA will free more revenue from the MDAs to government for other projects.
It was gathered that the heads of revenue generating agencies and their parent ministries are not comfortable with the TSA regime because it will limit their control over the funds they are making which in most cases they use to finance some extra budgetary expenses, a source at the ministry of finance told Daily Trust. In the same vein, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari's Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, barely a month after the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) expressed similar concerns. According to ASUU, the TSA could constitute bottlenecks in the smooth running of the Nigerian University System if hurriedly implemented. Speaking during the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting of the union held in Owerri, ASUU National President, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, said the Federal Government must deliberate over the policy with university representatives to make it workable. The TSA, introduced to block financial leakages and prevent mismanagement of government's revenue, unifies all government accounts through a single treasury account, enabling it to prevent revenue loss and mismanagement by revenue-generating agencies. Fagge said universities cannot function without the financial autonomy that the TSA takes away. "There is no way any university can operate freely without having financial autonomy and the union will fight against any plans to deny us such,’’ Fagge said. He explained that the autonomy enables universities to make long and short term plans and taking it away will have consequences. "When government shifts funding responsibilities to university authorities, the implication will be enormous." It will be recalled that, in mid-September, ASUP National President, Comrade Chibuzo Asomugha, had advised Buhari to provide a special consideration for educational institutions in the country as regards the TSA. (Daily Trust Editorial,2015:22). However, it is in view of the aforementioned inherent challenges of financial leakages in the revenue generation, remittance, and absence of transparency, revenue loss as well as mismanagement by revenue-generating agencies that the researchers undertake to carry out the research objectives.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study include:
i. To determine the extent to which the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) has 2
reduced corruption in public sector financial management.
ii. Find out the extent to which the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) has blocked financial leakages in public sector financial management
iii. Ascertain the extent to which the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) has promoted transparency and accountability in the public-sector finance
The following research questions have been investigated in this study:
i. To what extent has the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) reduced corruption in public sector financial management?
ii. To extent has the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) blocked financial leakages in public sector financial management?
iii. To extent has the adoption of treasury single account (TSA) promoted transparency and accountability in the public-sector finance?
H0: There is no significant relationship between the treasury single account and fighting of corruption in public sector organisations in Nigeria.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The research study area is Port Harcourt metropolis of Rivers State, Nigeria. Port Harcourt is the capital city of the state, it therefore houses all state offices of federal ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) in the federal secretariat. The State was created in 1967, it is located in the south-south region of Nigeria.
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