With the general elections now over, it seems a good time to reflect on one of the major success stories of the current government which affects every Nigerian one way or the other – the Treasury Single Account (TSA) initiative.
The Federal Government’s TSA continues to be celebrated as one of the most significant initiatives undertaken by any government in Nigeria to promote accountability, transparency and fight corruption in the management of public funds.
According to the current administration, TSA implementation saves the government a whopping ₦24.7 billion monthly and greatly enhances government revenue collection.
Despite its achievements, the policy has met with mixed reactions from the public, partly due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, poor stakeholder engagement, and inadequate sensitization by the government.
Below are facts to further help public understanding of this key initiative:
1. History of the TSA
The Treasury Single Account is a policy recommended by the World Bank for the effective management of national cash assets by ensuring that all government payments and revenue collections are managed through a single bank account or a set of linked accounts, which promotes accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
In 2011, the Federal Government (under President Goodluck Jonathan) mandated the commencement of the TSA initiative in Nigeria. A pilot commenced in 2012 on TSA payments (outbound transactions only) with just over 100 Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This was later extended to additional MDAs.
In 2015, President Muhammad Buhari’s administration mandated the full and comprehensive implementation of TSA across all Federal Government MDAs without any exception.
2. The Current Cost of Transactions into the TSA
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a circular of November 2018, announced the new price regime for Federal Government’s TSA thus:
Any payment to the Federal Government at any commercial bank, through Internet Banking, Mobile Wallet, and Agents would attract a flat fee of N150 (Plus VAT of ₦7.50K) irrespective of the amount being paid. (Just like you pay a flat fee of N65 for ATM withdrawal irrespective of the amount withdrawn)·
Payers who choose to make payment with a debit card will pay the same flat fee of ₦150 plus 0.75% of the amount being paid, subject to a maximum of ₦1,200 per transaction.
3. Who Bears the Cost?
The Federal Government bore the cost of all TSA payment and collection transactions since inception. However, in November 2018 the government decided to transfer the cost of revenue collections to payers, whilst the government continues to bear the cost of payments transactions.
4. Difference Between the Current Pricing Regime and the Previous One?
In the previous regime, the government took on the responsibility for payment and revenue transaction costs. In the current regime, the government bears the cost of transactions made to its vendors, but for payments to government (Government Collections), the payer settles the transaction charge.
5. Payment Options Currently Available for Transactions into the TSA
Payers are able to easily generate invoices for transactions online and make payment to the government through various channels including branches of all Commercial banks, select microfinance banks, Internet banking portals, POS terminal, cards on Web, Mobile Wallets, USSD and collection agents.
6. Who Government Pays Transaction Processing Fees to
The Government is unable to provide the required infrastructure on its own and has therefore put in place an ecosystem that includes a multitude of certified and regulated service providers – Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), commercial banks, card schemes, mobile money operators, agents and licensed payment solutions service providers (PSSPs). to make FGN payments and collection transactions happen.
The fees charged for FGN TSA transactions go towards remunerating this large group of service providers, to compensate them for their investment and ongoing service delivery.
7. How to Know How Much to Pay for any Government Service
A payer can easily go to the website of any MDA to identify the item to be paid for and generate an electronic invoice or visit the concerned MDA to obtain an invoice which clearly indicates the amount to be paid for the relevant item/ service.
Each invoice carries a unique reference for easy tracking and accounting – this is popularly known as the RRR. No citizen is expected to make any payment to Government without an RRR number.
8. How Receipts of Payments are Obtained
Every TSA payment is evidenced by an automatically generated electronic receipt provided to the payer at the point of the transaction by the bank or sent to the payer’s registered email address. It is very important for a payer not to leave a payment transaction point without obtaining a payment receipt that bears the RRR number of the invoice that led to the payment.
This is what will be checked by the MDA before providing service. It is also one of the checks and balances introduced into the TSA payment process to strengthen accountability and transparency.
COVID-19: Russia to start mass inoculation of vaccine this month as it insists on its safety
The vaccine is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.
Russia has announced that it was going to start mass vaccination of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine this month before the completion of clinical testing. This is just as it waved off concerns by the international community and some scientists about the safety of the vaccine.
These views were made known by the Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, during a press briefing.
The Health Minister in his statement said, ‘’Western colleagues, who can sense the competitive advantage of the Russian drug, are trying to express some opinions that are completely unjustified in our view. This vaccine is a platform that is already well-known and studied,” he said, adding that other countries have developed antidotes under accelerated testing programs.’’
Murashko also said that the authorities plan to start inoculating medical workers and other risk groups within 2 weeks on a voluntary basis while pointing out that the vaccine will be made available to the general public from October.
Nairametrics had reported yesterday that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised meeting, announced that Russia has registered the first Covid-19 vaccine in what they see as a propaganda coup amid the global race for the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease.
This announcement has raised a lot of international concerns with the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, saying on Wednesday, that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine has not been sufficiently tested, adding that the aim was to have a safe product rather than just being first to start vaccinating people.
He said in a radio chat that it’s not about being first but rather about having an effective, tested and safe vaccine.
Experts have expressed their concerns over Russia’s decision to grant approval before the final trials of the vaccine have been completed.
He said that as much as he will be pleased to have a good vaccine for the virus, he pointed out that the Russians are not disclosing much about this vaccine.
This vaccine which is developed by Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Defence Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.
However, a World Health Organization (WHO) database still lists the vaccine as still only in Phase 1 trial, which is the earliest stage.
The RDIF said that it can produce over 500 million doses of the new vaccine in a year in 5 countries, just as it disclosed that a minimum of 20 countries are currently interested in having access to these vaccines.
The WHO had earlier revealed that it is currently discussing with Russia and pointed out that in granting prequalification of the vaccine, a detailed review of data from clinical trials will be required.
FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy
The government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to diversify economic productivity.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced that it has completed 11 projects to drive its Digital Economy programme.
This was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, during the phase 2 commissioning of Nigeria’s Digital Economy drive.
The Nigerian Government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to create growth and diversify economic productivity in the nation, starting with the Digital Economy drive which was added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications.
Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government. The department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.
The projects were launched with the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would be operated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST ) and The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and would be located nationwide.
The 11 projects are:
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) llorin, Kwara State.
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) Calabar, Cross River State.
- School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Gombe State.
- Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State.
- Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State.
- New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State.
- Remodelled National Mail Exchange Centre, Bayelsa State.
- e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Bauchi State.
- Virtual Examination Centre, Borno State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Jigawa State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Imo State.
Over 5 million Nigerians apply for N-Power Batch C
The Minister assured Nigerians that transparency would be applied during the selection process.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development said a total of 5,042,001 Nigerians applied for the Batch C of N-Power. Applications commenced on the 26th of June and closed on the 9th of August.
This was announced by Halima Oyelade, a Special Assitant on Strategic Communication, in a statement released Tuesday night. The Ministry said that the application date was meant to close on the 26th of July, but was extended by two weeks to enable those who were unable to apply to do so.
The Backstory: Nairametrics reported in June that the Federal Government announced the reopening of the application portal of the social investment scheme for fresh registration of the June 2020 Batch C intakes.
We also reported that as at last month, the Federal Government said that it had received 4.48 million applications from beneficiaries for the Batch C of the programme within the first 2 weeks.
The Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, assured Nigerians in the statement that transparency and due diligence would be applied during the selection process to ensure that the qualified applicants are selected.
“The Honorable Minister further added that the N-Power program is aimed to provide the Nigerian youths with opportunities to gain skills for employability and entrepreneurship which will also go along way in assisting the country towards the post-Covid 19 economic recovery,” she said.
She added that the Ministry would comply with the administration’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years and the N-Power scheme would be one of the means to do so as women and persons with disabilities would be prioritized in the selection.