The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which commenced on September 15, is taking a huge toll on federal government agencies in the maritime industry, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY can authoritatively reveal.
A Treasury Single Account is a unified structure of government bank accounts enabling consolidation of government cash resources.
It is a bank account or a set of linked bank accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments and gets a consolidated view of its cash position at any given time.
But laudable as the initiative may be, certain government agencies, which are considered to be service agencies are exempt from the TSA.
A top management staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY under the condition of anonymity that the TSA implementation is already having a negative toll on the Authority’s operation as it has been unable to meet some of its core responsibilities.
“Ordinarily, an organisation like NPA should have been exempted from TSA the same way NNPC and a few others were exempted.
“We are a service agency. NPA has a lot of responsibility including daily maintenance and cleaning of the port, ensuring port hygiene, servicing vessels and other crafts, providing marine services, port lighting and meeting our responsibilities to concessionaires. We are a self-funding commercial entity and should not have been mandated to operate the TSA.
“If government does not exonerate us as soon as possible, the ports may be grounded and the economy will suffer for it,” the NPA management staff said.
She said in the past, NPA had been exonerated from complying with such directives.
She said that the situation in NPA has become worrisome as even salaries for the month of September have not been paid.
“This has never happened before. It is unfortunate that this directive is putting the organisation in a very difficult situation,” she added.
The tale of woe spreads across other maritime agencies including the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterrways Authority (NIWA).
A senior staff at NSC who also does not want his identity disclosed, said that the TSA directive is already taking its toll on the NSC.
“We are not a revenue generating agency but already this order has virtually crippled our operation to executive the mandate given to us by the same Federal Government,” he said.
Already, maritime lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Igbokwe has dragged the Federal Government to Court challenging the inclusion of the maritime agencies in the TSA implementation.
In a suit filed at a Federal High Court, Lagos on behalf of an indigenous shipping company, Elshcon Nigeria Limited, Igbokwe contends that the directive to maritime agencies to pay their revenues into the TSA and Consolidated Revenue Fund will impair their operations and adversely affect the discharge of their duties.
Igbokwe said the plaintiff would seek an order restraining the federal government from implementing the directives pending the determination of the case, which has been assigned to Justice Ibrahim Buba.