A high-powered delegation from The Gambian Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, led by Ada Gaye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, and its Accountant General, Momodou Lamin Bah, is currently in the country, understudying Nigeria’s technological breakthroughs in its implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) programme.
The visit forms part of efforts by the Gambian government to restructure and transform Gambia’s Public Finance Management structure in line with global best practice, as it looks to Nigeria for motivation and support.
The delegation, received by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Accountant General of the Federation, represented by Director of funds OAGF, Muhammad Usman, and Director of TSA, Sylva Okolieaboh, among other top government officials was taken through series of presentations and discussion on Nigeria’s experience in TSA initiation and implementation.
Lamin Bah explained why Gambia decided to understudy Nigeria’s TSA example, noting that Nigeria is a ‘big brother’ to Gambia, and that its success with TSA has been a source of reference at the IMF.
According to him, “We have reference from the International Monetary Fund, sighting Nigeria’s tremendous success in implementing the treasury single account. I was looking at their (IMF) online PFM course (Public Financial Management), and Nigeria specifically is showcased there for successful implementation of the Treasury Single Account. So, we didn’t have a second choice… we call Nigeria our big brother. When a small brother wants something, he will ask the big brother.”
On her part, Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed explained the schematic framework of the TSA programme, providing a clear understanding to the Gambian delegates on how Nigeria’s TSA functions.
According to her, “The TSA seats in the central bank; the Account holder is the Ministry of Finance, as well as each agency that has a sub account; and the transactions are driven by a platform they call Remita, and remittances are done through Remita to the Central Bank.”
Also, one of the key figures as far as Nigeria’s TSA reforms is concerned, Sylva Okolieaboh, who is also the Director, Treasury Single Account, OAGF noted that no policy of government in Nigeria’s history has been as successful as the TSA in terms of implementation, and that is why Gambia, and very soon, Ethiopia willing be coming to learn from Nigeria’s TSA example.
According to Okolieaboh, “If there is any policy that the government has supported 100%, it is the TSA. It is one reform that every incoming government has always supported. However, I must say that the success we have recorded so far has been because the President and the Federal Government has supported TSA 100%.”
Discussing on the technological facility used in powering the TSA programme, Okolieaboh lauded SystemSpecs, owners of Remita- the indigenous Fintech solution behind TSA for their tremendous infrastructural support towards in helping the process.
According to him, “SystemSpecs has facilitated a whole lot. In fairness to SystemSpecs, when the President gave the order for TSA to commence almost immediately in 2015, it was SystemSpecs that stepped in to make that possible. If they did not provide their platform as at that time, I don’t think it would have been possible.”
The Gambian delegation will also visit Lagos, where they are to meet with SystemSpecs and other Fintech providers to gain deeper insights on how technology is used in facilitating TSA.