The National Assembly yesterday stood its grounds not to be a part of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, being implemented by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to reduce the level of corruption and increase accountability and transparency in governance.
President Buhari had during his maiden media chat last week, said he was having challenges with the National Assembly over the TSA.
“We are having problems with them (National Assembly) on TSA. We have to have a closed door session with them”, Buhari said during the media chat.
Buhari shortly after assuming office last May, directed all federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to key into the TSA.
But both chambers of the National Assembly yesterday explained that being a part of the TSA policy is like “surrendering of their autonomy to the executive”.
In an interview, the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said they were in total support of the TSA but that they would not be part of it.
“There is no any trouble on TSA, it is as an executive programme and we cannot surrender our autonomy to the executive. Submitting ourselves to the TSA, is surrendering our autonomy to the executive. We are on the first line charge as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Why should we give you our funds to put in the TSA and then we will be subjected to your own control, is that autonomy? That is just the issue; we’ve given our total support to the TSA programme. As far as we are concerned, we cannot subject ourselves to it because it amount to mortgaging our autonomy.
“Our autonomy is guaranteed by the constitution and how our money should be paid is also guaranteed by the constitution. Are we saying our autonomy should be jettisoned? Are we a revenue generating arm? Are we saying that the constitution should be jettisoned, because somebody wants to do TSA? Are we going to put the Constitution aside and follow somebody’s wish? What we are following is constitutional”, he said.
Senator Abdullahi, however, said the Red Chamber would continue to follow due process in discharging their constitutional functions, saying “if you are following due process, you are promoting accountability and by so doing, you are promoting good governance”.
On the pledge by Senate President Bukola Saraki to make the budget of the National Assembly public and transparent, he said, “when our budget is out, you will see the difference from previous ones”.
Also speaking, the spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas, said TSA is an executive policy, and that National Assembly as an arm of government, was yet to be part of it.
While lauding the TSA policy as a good way of ensuring transparency and accountability in handling public funds, Namdas said the legislature, as an arm of government, should be allowed to operate with some level of independence.
He maintained that they were yet to decide whether to be part of TSA or not.
“You know every arm of government has its ways of operations. The issue of TSA is an executive matter, and in as much as we want to work together with the executive for good governance, we are not part of TSA for now”, he said.