“Within the last two years, the government spent almost N16bn in this direction, which ordinarily should be borne by those making payments. So, it is time for Nigerians to pay for the services that they receive and the government will take whatever is due to it without necessarily incurring cost."
Paying taxes or tariffs to the Federal Government is about to get higher, as Ahmed Idris, the Accountant General of the Federation, has announced that the burden of transactional fees associated with making payments to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) would no longer be borne by the government.
A media release issued by Johnson Oise, Director Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, on Sunday quoted Idris as saying the government had expended N16 billion on shouldering the responsibility.
”Henceforth, the Federal Government would no longer bear the service charge on all payments to its Ministries, Departments and Agencies as such costs would be borne by the payer,” he said.
“Within the last two years, the government spent almost N16bn in this direction, which ordinarily should be borne by those making payments. So, it is time for Nigerians to pay for the services that they receive and the government will take whatever is due to it without necessarily incurring cost.
“In the old tariff regime, the Federal Government bore the charges on all transactions to the service providers on behalf of payers.”
In order to mitigate the impact this could have on taxpayers, the AGF said discussions were ongoing to bring down the rates.
He said: “By negotiable, I mean by the introduction of more players in the market, definitely the charges will come down from whatever they are now, but right now discussions are going on to make the charges as minimal as possible.
“We are liberalising the market and it has to be a level playing field for all operators to operate and that is what will happen.”
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CbN), as the regulator, would always intervene if any service provider charges beyond the approved rate.
He also enthused that the TSA policy has been of a lot of benefit to the government, as it has helped reduce indiscriminate borrowing by MDAs, halted abuses and blocked leaks of government revenues.
The TSA scheme has led to the closure of 20,000 bank accounts and the transfer of over N8 trillion from commercial banks to the CBN. A total of 1,674 MDAs have been enrolled onto the scheme since its inception in September 2015.