An author’s take on Nigeria’s Treasury Single Account policy

treasury single account policy in nigeria book
  • Title: Treasury Single Account Policy in Nigeria
  • Author: Salawu Adeku Zubairu
  • Publisher: National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS),  Kuru, Plateau State, Nigeria
  • Reviewer: Prof. Kabiru Isa Dandago

It is with high sense of humility that I accept to be the reviewer of this book, entitled ‘Treasury Single Account Policy in Nigeria’, authored by my very good brother and friend, Alhaji Salawu Adeku Zubairu, mni, FCA of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, The Treasury House, Abuja, Nigeria. Alhaji Salawu is now a Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja. The book is to be counted as part of the creative works the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation encourages its staff to be embarking upon, with a view to enriching literature in the field of Public Sector Accounting and Finance.

TSA is simply a means of aggregating cash resources for effective and efficient deployment for budget execution. TSA, as a bank account or a set of linked accounts, ensures compliance with the principle of unity of cash custody and the unity of treasury. It emphasizes on the need for all revenues to be fully collected and accounted for with a view to supporting service delivery, while spending efficiency by MDAs is encouraged and institutionalized. These are the issues amplified and simplified by this timely empirical study book, which emphasizes on the implementation of TSA at the Federal Government.

The book is an excellent effort towards updating the knowledge of students, accounting officers and accounting professionals/practitioners in Nigeria and beyond, especially on new development in Governmental Accounting and Finance. It is expected that students of accounting at the professional level and tertiary educational institution level, public sector accounting officers, accounting practitioners/professionals and other people desirous of deep understanding and intimate knowledge of Treasury Single Account (TSA) would find the book a necessary companion. The book is packaged in six (6) exciting chapters, each carrying peculiar information and knowledge relevant to the readers.

Chapter 1 entitled Changing the Landscape of Public Cash Management builds the background for the book, including statement of its scope, relevant conceptual clarifications and the reasons behind the Treasury Single Accounting (TSA) policy. The chapter also strongly links TSA to the need for world class public financial management at the Federal Government level. Theoretical Framework and Methodology statement are other important issues covered by the chapter, where the theoretical foundation of the subject matter and the statement of the methodology employed in the conduct of the empirical study were made clear.

The chapter highlights two theories: Principal-Agent Theory or Agency Theory and Transaction Cost Theory as the underpinning theories to the study. This is to prove that every empirical study has its theoretical background, and the study leading to the production of this book cannot be an exception, especially as the author has shown excellent understanding of the two theories and how they sharpen thoughts before actions. The statement of methodology was also very apt; that the study used mixed design, involving the adoption of qualitative and quantitative techniques (the Qual-Quan method)! This is to enhance triangulation of data, with a view to achieving valid, relevant and accurate deductions on the effect of TSA policy on the operations of MDAs.

Conceptual Discourse of the Operations of TSA is the subject of discussion in Chapter 2. Readers would appreciate the key concepts for an intimate understanding of TSA, matters to consider in making good decision to implement TSA, the sequence to follow in the implementation of TSA, the scope and structure of TSA, the custody (place of domicile) of TSA, and the benefits of centralization of TSA at Central Bank. All these issues are fairly and simply discussed in the chapter to carry all readers along.  Chapter 3 addresses Models of TSA in Some Countries, to establish some case studies for critics to appreciate the fact that Nigeria is not the only or the first country to adopt TSA policy for its economic beneficial implementation. Brazil, Indonesia and Uganda (from Latin America, Asia and Africa) are the three countries discussed in the chapter, in respect of the variant of TSA they implement, the challenges they face and how they overcome the challenges in the best interest of their economies. The chapter has also highlighted more 20 countries cutting across all the continents of the world that are operating one variant of TSA or another.

Overview of TSA and the Operations of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are the subjects of discussion in Chapter 4. The chapter presents the historical development of TSA and its overview in relation to the operations of MDAs. It also discusses the policy framework of TSA and its implementation strategies and identification of monitoring and evaluation (M & E) agencies for actual implementation of TSA. The chapter also highlights the 6 objectives of implementing TSA and the highlights of some laws of the land (Nigeria) in full support of TSA implementation, especially for effective Cash Management.  Some of the laws are the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Finance (Control and Management) Act 1958, Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, CBN Act 2007, Evidence Act 2011, and Financial Regulations 2009 (revised).

Chapter 5 is about Empirical Evidence on the Implementation of TSA. The chapter presents and analyses the filed data obtained on implementation of TSA in key MDAs, response rate of survey interviews, socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents and the current state of implementation of TSA at the Federal Government level in Nigeria. The chapter also presents the results of the assessment conducted on the institutional mechanisms put in place for effective implementation of the TSA policy in MDAs. From the Chapter, readers will appreciate the level of satisfaction with coverage of TSA policy at the Federal Government MDAs, assessment of GIFMIS Platform in the TSA process, assessment of REMITA Platform in the TSA process, legal and regulatory frameworks for TSA operations, reliability of ICT infrastructure in delivering on TSA policy objectives, level of coordination among the institutions driving the TSA policy, the capacity of key institutions to drive TSA policy, knowledge of the operations of TSA, efficiency of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of TSA policy, among many other important issues.

This lengthy Chapter also summarises findings of the empirical study. Current state of the implementation of TSA policy by the Federal Government’s MDAs, institutional mechanisms for implementation of TSA policy in relation to MDAs, effects of the implementation of TSA policy on operations of MDAs, and the challenges of effective implementing TSA policy in relation to the operations of MDA in Nigeria are the issues highlighted as the major findings of the study.

Chapter 6, which is the last chapter, is about the Conclusions and Recommendations of the study. The chapter reaches conclusions based on the findings of the study and highlights 8 powerful recommendations based on the findings/conclusions of the study. One of the recommendations is that the Federal Government should initiate the process of enacting Public Financial Management Act. Another important recommendation is that the monitoring and evaluation mechanism for ensuring the effectiveness of the TSA policy should be strengthened to make it watertight, especially by the OAGF and CBN (the two government agencies that are deeply involved in the implementation of the TSA policy).

As the first of its kind in the field of Public Finance Management in Nigeria, the book suffers from some shortcomings that need to be improved upon in its second edition. The book is silent about the need to trickle down the TSA policy to the states governments and local government council levels, so that the huge benefits of the policy could be enjoyed at all levels. The way the policy would carry along autonomous government agencies like CBN, FIRS, NDIC, Federal Universities, DMO, etc for all-inclusive, effective and efficient implementation of the TSA policy have not been adequately captured in the book. Again, there are some technical and grammatical errors (a sort of printer’s devil) that need to be further detected and corrected.

Based on the scope and contents of the 6 chapters, this book is an excellent public sector accounting and finance companion to accounting and finance students of both academic and professional institutions/institutes. It should be made a reference material in the public sector accounting and finance syllabi of university degree programmes (BSc and MSc), the syllabi of polytechnic diploma programmes (ND and HND) and the syllabi of ICAN, ANAN, etc.

I strongly recommend the book to the lecturers and students of those institutions and professional bodies and, of course, to the public sector accounting and finance officers at the Federal, States and Local Government Council levels. It is also recommended to all chief executive officers of MDAs and other government functionaries who are desirous of obtaining intimate knowledge and deep understanding of the TSA policy.

On a final note, I congratulate the author for making excellent use of his one-year stay at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru to conceive the idea of conducting the research captured in this book and the successful delivery of this “handsome baby”, hoping that more of such deliveries are on their way.

Prof. Kabiru Isa Dandago is from the Department of Accounting, Bayero University, Kano

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