Treasury Single Account is unconstitutional: RMAFC

By The Rainbow

THE Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, is kicking against the Treasury Single Account, TSA because it is unconstitutional.  It is of the view that monies generated by revenue yielding agencies of the federal government should be paid into the Federation Account and not the TSA, which the government adopted eight months ago to keep track of all the monies earned by the government.

According to the RMAFC, the agencies, including the Corporate Affairs Commission, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Commission, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigerian Postal Service and Nigerian Communications Commission were established for the federation and not just for the federal government.

The RMAFC stated in a letter to the National Assembly that any law that permits any of the agencies to keep funds that it generates or pay into any account other than the Federation Account for the use of the three tiers of government violates the 1999 Constitution. Such laws it stated should be amended to enable the agencies to pay into the rightful account. The RMAFC in the letter added that it had also met with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the need to amend the laws to allow the agencies to remit their revenues to the Federation Account alone.

The RMAFC said the TSA being implemented by the present administration was nothing but another name for the Consolidated Revenue Fund belonging to the federal government and had nothing to do with the Federation Account belonging to the three tiers of government.

The RMAFC said, “The commission would advise that the laws establishing most of the revenue-generating agencies should be reviewed. These agencies are owned by the federation. They generate and collect huge sums, which they retain and utilise, and subsequently only remit their operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government as allowed by the various Acts establishing them and the Financial Regulation Act in conspicuous violation of constitutional provisions, specifically Sections 1(3) and 162 (18 & 10).

“The Constitution stipulates that all revenues shall be remitted into the Federation Account with few exceptions like the Personal Income Tax of members of the Armed Forces and the Police, and also the residents of the Federal Capital Territory. Moreover, these agencies were mostly set up during the military administrations and were financed from the common pool of the federation.

“They also operate and administer assets such as land, seas, airways etc. belonging to the federation in addition to having operational presence across several states of the country. These reasons are enough to justify that these agencies should remit all their revenues to the Federation Account, and then submit their administrative/financial requirements to the National Assembly for appropriation. It should be noted that the commission had made presentations on this issue at several forums. Recently, the commission visited the president and advised on the need for the review of these agencies' laws to compel them to remit all their revenues to the Federation Account.

“The commission has also been discussing with some of these agencies to resolve the issues by trying to convince them to remit their collections to the Federation Account. Some of these agencies relied on the Acts establishing them to retain and utilise their revenue collections, while others rely on financial regulations to remit their collections into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”

The RMAFC, therefore, advised members of the National Assembly to take the necessary steps to ensure that funds made by the agencies were remitted into the Federation Account as required by the constitution.

The TSA as a financial policy was implemented by the federal government on September 15, 2015, to consolidate all inflows from the country's ministries, departments and agencies by way of deposit into commercial banks, traceable into a single account at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The policy was established in order to reduce the proliferation of bank accounts operated by MDAs and to promote financial accountability among governmental organs.