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Remita/Bank Charges & Inconvenience Of Subsidy: Analytical Criticism

By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.

The Remita/Bank Charges on Financial Transactions under the TSA Policy and the Acclaimed Inconvenience of Government’s Subsidy

Earlier in February, 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria – herein after referred to as CBN – issued a circular directing all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to implement the Remita e-Collection Platform.

The author, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh

The Remita e-Collection is a technology platform deployed by the Federal Government to support the collection and remittance of all government revenue to a Consolidated Account domiciled with the CBN.

This is what the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 – herein refers to as the Constitution – refers to as the Consolidated Revenue Fund – herein after referred to as CRF – or the Treasury Single Account (TSA), so to say.

Section 80 (1) of the Constitution (as amended) provides that ‘All revenues, or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation’ (also see section 162(1) of the Constitution).

However, the remita platform has been contracted to a private company by name ‘Systemspecs Limited’.

Also, just few days back, the Accountant-General of the Federation was reported by the media to have posited that the Federal Government expends more on the remita subsidy and so that payer of any such finance into the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account – herein after referred to as TSA – would henceforth from the November 1st, 2018, pay directly the service charge on each of the TSA payment transactions.

This paper attempts at a review of the TSA policy, the charges which the individual payer has to pay, government’s decision to withdraw its subsidy and the acclaimed inconvenience of the government to continue to pay for the service charge, among other issues of concerns.

Considering the issues surrounding the remita platform, there were arguments in the past that the sum of hundred naira (N100.00) charged on a transaction is bank charge, as remita and the Central Bank of Nigeria – herein after referred to as the CBN – already have an agreement as to commission on the aggregate of funds generated through the TSA.

But now, what happens is an increase in the said the sum of hundred naira (N100.00) charged on a transaction is bank charge.

At the moment, even though, within a very short notice that the Federal Government gave to Nigerian citizens, without respect for open government participation of Nigerians, the Federal Government went ahead and withdraw its contribution to the scheme as from the 1st day of November, 2018. The writer of this paper had paid the sum of two hundred naira (N200.00) only for a transaction in respect of a Court fees the Federal High Court Headquarters in Abuja, via the TSA and was charged an extra fees of N157.50k, just as the Federal Government had maintained.

However, it needs to be understood that this fee charged as of now, is not fixed as it can rise from that amount up to an amount that is high, coupled with the current poor management and maintenance of monitoring and or coordination of some of our regulatory government’s institutions on the private companies in Nigeria.

Furthermore, the writer of this paper wonders what exactly is wrong with our Nigerian government, with due respect!

Why is it that everything or anything that is of benefit to Nigerians is not maintainable or manageable to the government?

Why is it that our government is rather interested in privatizing and awarding contracts out to private individuals of which many times, those persons awarding the contracts have one personal interest or the other to protect in such contract?

What then is our government going to do for its people?

Why enforce tax and taxation policies on Nigerians whereas, expending the said taxes in the interest of the payers becomes very difficult?

What happens to recovered funds from corrupt politicians and or individuals?! The writer of this paper finds these situations unbearable!

For instance, electricity was not manageable by the government, so, it was privatized. Telecommunication was not manageable by the government, so was privatized.

Now, TSA too is not manageable by the government and so, government has to involve the private company to provide the required services!

What then happens to the Nigerian Telecommunication Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)?

Why then would the government continue to have these institutions in operation when government still has to privatize the entire economy of Nigeria including what these institutions were established to perform?

It is noteworthy that a government that finds it very difficult and unrealistic to pay its employed citizens a minimum wage of thirty thousand naira only (N30,000.00) finds it very practicable to ask same individuals to be responsible for the service charge on remita!

More so, the writer of this paper submits that it is wrong and unacceptable for the public to pay such amount to a private company after having paid the prescribed fees, and whereas, the said service charge is even more than the prescribed fees depending on the circumstance.

For instance, it then means that in order to pay the sum of ten naira (N10.00) only to the government, the payer would have to take transport of say two hundred naira (N200.00) only to and fro and then pay the surcharge of service charge of N157.50k!

The reader of this paper can estimate how much that has been unnecessarily expended by the payer whose minimum wage is just eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) only!

Therefore, the writer of this paper appeals to the government of the federation to please think about its decisions on this TSA service charge and make its people proud and happy.

Finally, the writer of this paper hopes that the government of the federation would definitely consider the agony and the financial incapability of its citizens by reversing its decisions of leaving its citizens to their fate of being responsible for the TSA service charge, in fact, by making a reversal of same with immediate effect.

The writer of this paper supports an immediate removal and reversal of this service charge by the government of the federation with immediate effect!

e-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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