Nigeria: Remita Boss Attempts To Explain N25 Billion TSA Collection Profit

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John-Obaro

John Obaro, the boss of System Specs, the company that owns Remita (the software used in the collection of federal government funds from the commercial banks to the CBN) has written to President Buhari in an attempt to explain the N25 billion profit the company is said to have made from the transaction.

According to reports that had been making the rounds, System Specs signed an agreement that gave them 1 percent of the collected funds as processing fee. The issue was first raised by Senator Dino Melaye and has since been a burning issue in the media.

Upon the breaking of this news, attempts were made to say that the agreement between the federal government and System Specs was reached during the time of former president Goodluck Jonathan. This report has however been refuted. This refutal came from Mallam Umar Sani, the former Senior Special Adviser to former Vice President Namadi Sambo.

According to Mallam Sani, the agreement had nothing to do with former president Goodluck Jonathan. He explained that “The government as at that time began the implementation of TSA through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), a World Bank assisted Project domiciled in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and it is through GIFMIS that all government Budget (Personnel, Overhead, Capital, Transfers etc) transactions are carried out, so why do they need Remitta?”

He further explained. “I can categorically tell you that it is the new Accountant General, Mallam Ahmed Idris, that put forward the Remitta proposal, but some other Directors led by the Director, Funds (Dikwa) vehemently opposed it on the grounds that government cannot have more than one payment platform and instead of using Remita to implement TSA, GIFMIS should be used.”

With the hue and cry going on regarding this matter, Mr John Obaro has now come out to point fingers to other beneficiaries of the loot. According to him, the N25 billion profit was shared among System Specs, The CBN and the commercial banks.

This is his letter to Mr President:

“Your Excellency, we are aware that you must have heard series of reports around the 1% processing fees chargeable on e-Collections of Government receipts. We will like to provide some background on these issues sir.

“System Specs was engaged to provide the Payment Gateway for TSA in 2011. While the payment leg of TSA commenced in January 2012, the collection component did not start as scheduled due to the resistance from a number of quarters and the absence of the political will to push this through.

“In 2013, CBN and OAGF setup a multi-stakeholder implementation committee and organised a joint seminar with key stakeholders, including banks, to agree formalities for commencement of e-collection.

“The Banks proposed a fee of 5% to compensate for the fact that they would no longer keep float.

“The implementation committee however recommended 2.5% after negotiation with the banks.

“The then AGF later approved 1% as processing fee, which was in turn communicated to all the stakeholders through CBN in December 2013. Subsequently, we executed a contract with CBN and other stakeholders involved on the provision of services to support TSA.

“Based on the increased scope of the TSA project, following your directive in August 2015 for all MDAs to join the scheme, we had highlighted the need for a stakeholder meeting to discuss the TSA e-collection fees. This was communicated to both CBN and OAGF.

“Instead of an invitation for a stakeholders meeting as requested, we received a directive from the CBN Governor to refund all TSA e-collection fees earned to date and to suspend all charges on the platform.

“System Specs has since complied fully with this directive and refunded all monies earned to date to CBN. This we did in good faith and without prejudice to avoid distractions that could becloud the bigger potential of the TSA project for our country.

“While we await clarification from OAGF/CBN on the way forward, we have since suspended all TSA e collection fees on the platform. This means that none of the TSA collection parties/channels are earning any fees for providing services to Government.

“This position is however not sustainable as the collection partner banks are threatening to suspend FGN TSA collections. This would clearly be playing into the hands of those who do not wish this initiative to succeed.

“We understand the strategic importance of the TSA project to this administration and the country at large. We have demonstrated good faith and continued commitment to the project in the last four years to deliver on our mandate.

“We will continue to do all within our power to bring the project to full term.

“Your Excellency, we would appreciate your kind and urgent intervention to ensure a speedy resolution of this matter before the banks stop collections.”

Source: Daily Post

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