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TSA: Senate Directs CBN To Terminate Contract

* Reduces Agent’s Commission To N665.5m From N7.5bn
* Directs CBN To Cancel 1% Charge

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

Senate on Wednesday directed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to terminate, with immediate effect, the 2013 renewal contract it entered into with the SystemSpecs on the maintenance of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

The Red Chamber also reduced the SystemSpecs’ commission, based on the charge of 1 percent transaction fee for all transfers and collections, from N7,650,925,566.40 to N656,504,100.

Consequently, the CBN has been directed to cancel the 1 percent charge provided for in the contract. for the e-collection by the SystemSpecs for any computation whatsoever.

The above actions were sequel to the recommendations from the report of its Joint Committee on Finance; Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; and Public Accounts on the Abuse and Mismanagement of Treasury Single Account (TSA) Regime.

It would be recalled that at its sitting on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, the Upper Legislative Chamber debated a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye on the: abuse and mismanagement of the TSA regime.

Following the debates, the Senate resolved to, among others, mandate the Joint Committee to carryout a holistic investigation on the matter, and report back within two weeks.

It was also mandated to investigate an alleged abuse of the TSA and deduction of N25 billion from the accounts of the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Adopting the 11-point recommendations by the Joint Committee, the CBN was further directed to show evidences of all refunds made by the Systemspecs, identify and recommend for prosecution all those involved in approving the contract, as well as carry out an in-house enquiry to sanitise its system of contract awards.

While noting that the company only deducted N7.6 billion, the Senate directed the CBN to pay N656,504,100 as transaction cost for funds transfer collection for the period ended November 30, 2015.

The Senate’s approval of N656 million payment was based on CBN wage band of N700 per transaction for electronic transfer payment which was approved by the Senate.

Further directive by the Senate was that the CBN should ban further deductions from the MDAs, but should be paid from a central pool, while money realised from the TSA be provided to be appropriated in 2016.

The Senate also charged its standing committees to tighten their over sight role in order to ensure a hitch free and smooth implementation of the TSA.

Finally, the hollowed chamber directed Senate Committee on Public Accounts to investigate and ensure that payments being made by the CBN have not been made in the past.

With all the recommendations, directives were also issues for all payments made in excess of the CBN approved rates to be paid back to the federation account.

In his remark, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, while commending the Committee, sternly reiterated that the CBN must show evidence of compliance with all the directives of the Senate.

He said that the report and recommendations have proved that the Senate was not just against the TSA as was alleged, but showed evidently that something was wrong with the contract.

“I think that the message we are sending out today is very clear that whatever is in the interest of our great country that will ensure proper use of funds, this senate will stand firmly for that.

“I think this is a good example, by this action, this country is saving close to between N22 billion to over N30 billion, which is higher than the appropriation of a lot of ministries and departments today.

“It is mind burgling to see the kind of money that would have just gone away to people, if not because this motion.

“We will have to ensure that the respective agencies particularly CBN must comply strictly with these recommendations of the senate.

“I want to encourage our colleagues to ensure that despite the kind of blackmail that we received in doing our work, we should follow the example that has been shown by these committees,” Saraki said.

He further reminded the Committee and the CBN that the Senate must see proof that the directives were complied with and the new rates for transfer is adhered to.

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