The Nigerian Senate has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to terminate, with immediate effect, the 2013 renewal contract it entered into with the System-Specs on the maintenance of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The Senate also reduced the System-Specs’ commission, based on the charge of 1% transaction fee for all transfers and collections, from =N=7,650,925,566.40 to =N=656,504,100.
Accordingly, the apex bank has been directed to cancel the 1% charge provided for in the contract for the e-collection by the private firm for any computation service it rendered.
These resolutions were part of the recommendations of the Senate joint committees on Finance, Public Accounts and Insurance, which investigated an alleged abuse of the TSA and deduction of =N=25 billion from accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, for services rendered by System Specs.
It would be recalled that at its sitting on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, the Nigerian Senate debated a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye on the abuse and mismanagement of the TSA regime, prompting the upper chamber to institute an investigation.
Adopting the 11-point recommendations by the Joint Committee, the CBN was further directed to show evidences of all refunds made by the System Specs, identify and recommend for prosecution all those involved in approving the contract, as well as carry out an in-house enquiry to sanitize its system of contract awards.
The Senate’s approval of =N656 million payment was based on a CBN wage band of =N=700 per transaction for electronic transfer payment which was approved by the Senate.
A 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 realized from the TSA, 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. The Senate also recommended that all payments made in excess of the CBN approved rates should be paid back to the federation account.
In his resolution after the committee presented its report, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said that the recommendation has 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 boggling to see the kind of money that would have just gone away to people, if not because of 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,” Senator 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.
In another development, the Senate, also directed the Federal Ministry of Works and the Lagos State Government to immediately resume the rehabilitation of the roads leading to the Apapa ports with a view to tackling the gridlock in that area.
The directive followed the submission of the report of the Committee on Marine Transport by its Chairman, Senator Ahmed Sani, on the investigation of the motion by Senator Oluremi Tinubu and 106 others on the Apapa Port gridlock in December 2015.
Accordingly, the Committee said that the two construction firms handling the rehabilitation of the main road leading to the Apapa Port left the site because the Federal Ministry of Works was owing them =N=11.7 billion.
In its report, the panel also claimed that the contractors handling the construction of the Trunk Holding Bay also left the site because the firm was being owed =N=1.5 billion, despite the fact that the project was about 90 percent completed.
The Senate, therefore, asked the Lagos State Government to equally carry out repairs of adjoining roads to the expressway. It asked the Nigerian Police, Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to ensure effective traffic control and enforcement of all traffic rules in the area.
More so, the senate directed the ports concessionaire and tank farm owners to provide ample parking space for their trucks and carry out development in accordance with their lease agreement.
It also asked the Nigerian Port Authority and the federal ministry of works to begin the process of removing structures on Right of Ways and other locations that are impending smooth traffic flow.
The Senate also gave the tank farm owners six months ultimatum, to develop loading bays for trucks while the Lagos State government, should expedite action on the loading bay being planned for the trade fair complex.
It asked the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Ports Authority to expedite action on the repairs of the Atlas Cove Jetty, and the pipelines that could transfer products to Mosimi and Ilorin with adequate security.