The Senate on Wednesday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to terminate its contract with Systemspecs, an e- revenue collection platform used for the operation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Accordingly, it recommended that CBN remits N656.5m to Systemspecs as its commission for the N800bn revenue remitted into TSA accounts from October last year as against N7.6 bn being collected by the firm based on an agreement of 1% commission charges.
The Senate also recommended that N700bn be paid as commission on any transaction made by them instead of the fraudulent 1% commission charges on any amount wired into the account by any of the e- payment platforms.
The recommendations are contained in the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, Banking, Insurance and Public Accounts that probed the alleged N25bn commission charges collected by REMITA , an e- collection platform of Systemspecs through which government funds were remitted into TSA accounts.
Giving its nod to all the 10 recommendations made by the joint committee which was presented by the chairman, John Enoh (PDP Cross River Central), the Senate ordered that the CBN should make sure the portion of deductions retained by it and the affected deposit money banks be completely refunded.
The CBN, Senate further directed, must create an enabling environment for other e- collection providers for competition, effectiveness, efficiency and greater robustness, even as it directed that all agreed fees and payments for e- collection service should be provided and disbursed from central pool rather than being borne by MDAs.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki noted that the action taken by the upper legislative chamber on the TSA operation was not against the use of the account, but to ensure its effective management to save the nation from any sharp practices and leakages.
“I think that the message we are sending out today is very clear that our interest lies in ensuring proper use of funds. This Senate will stand firmly for that and this goes back to the issues where people wonder about the usefulness or value of the parliament and I think this is a good example. By this action, this country is saving between N22bn to over N30bn which is higher than the appropriation of a lot of Ministries, Department and Agencies of Government ( MDAs).
“When motion for this investigation was raised in October last year, a lot of noise was made that it was just because the Senate didn’t want to support TSA, but this report categorically applauds the TSA but the issue is that the cost of doing the transaction should not undermine the good purpose of the TSA and I think that was what we have done today. We will have to ensure that the respective agencies particularly CBN must refund this money complying strictly with this observations and recommendations of the senate.
“It is mind boggling to see the kind of money that would have just gone away to bribing people if not because this motion came. 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 examples that have been shown by these three committees that when we have this sort of issues we must stand for what we believe is right.
It could be recalled that the managing director of Systemspecs, owner of the REMITA e- collection platform, Mr John Obaro, had explained before the joint committee in December last year that the 1% charge was not meant for REMITA alone.
According to him, it was shared along with CBN itself and other deposit money banks on the sharing pattern of 50% for REMITA, 40% for other deposit banks and the remaining 10% for CBN.