Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has challenged the Federal Government to unmask the owners of REMITA, a consultancy company which allegedly collected N25 billion fee in a day for transferring N2.5 trillion to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) on behalf of the government.
The governor said on Sunday that he would not attend the meeting called by the Federal Government with state governors on the TSA because his administration is not interested in the TSA policy, describing it as fraud against Nigerians by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government.
In a press statement issued on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and the New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka, the governor asked the Federal Government to rather "remove the veil on the face of REMITA so that Nigerians can know the real owners through whom the All Progressives Congress (APC) is siphoning Nigeria's money to fund Kogi and Bayelsa states' governorship elections."
He continued: "From all intent and purposes, this TSA policy is aimed at recouping money spent on the last general elections by the APC, as well as raise money for future elections, especially the Kogi and Bayelsa states' gubernatorial polls.
"It is also meant to enrich some individuals for doing virtually nothing and that can be seen from the discovery of N25 billion that already accrued to just a single company in one day!
"How can the Federal Government justify a transaction in which a single company gets one per cent, amounting to N25 billion in one day?
"In this economic situation that Nigeria is, shouldn't the one per cent commission have been negotiated downward to like 0.1 per cent which would have reduced the N25 billion to N2.5 billion?
"Even manufacturing companies, with thousands of employees don't make N25 billion profit in a month. Therefore, what Nigerians are expecting from the Federal Government is explanation on the alleged N25 billion scam already associated with the operation of the TSA, instead of calling state governors to a meeting that is aimed at imposing the TSA policy on the states," he said.
Fayose, who insisted that he would not attend the Federal Government's meeting with the governors on the TSA, said that the Federal Government cannot force its policies on states that are federating units in the Nigerian Federation.
According to him, "Ekiti State is entitled to its own policies and it is not under any obligation to accept the Federal Government policies, especially the TSA that is already robed in the garment of fraud.
"I therefore wish to state categorically that Ekiti State is not interested in the TSA policy and since the state is not interested, I, as the custodian of the popular mandate of the entire people of the state will not attend any meeting called by the Federal Government on the TSA," he said.
System Specs speaks on TSA
Meanwhile, System Specs, the company that owns Remita, the e-payment and e-collection software used by the Federal Government to implement payments into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the controversy surrounding the 1% processing fee charged on inflow into the TSA.
The company in the letter dismissed allegations of wrongdoing, explaining that it was contracted by government in 2011, when President Goodluck Jonathan was still in office, whilst Emir Lamido Sanusi was Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The company further dismissed allegations made against it by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) that the firm was making about N25 bn daily as commission, saying it made about N3 billion from the 1% processing fee as its share since the implementation of the project.
System Specs said it actually shared the processing fee with banks affected by the implementation of the TSA and the CBN in ratios of .5 %, .4% and .1%, respectively.
The CBN under current Governor Godwin Emefiele, in August directed the company to refund monies deducted as professing fees when it discovered that over N8 billion was collected.
The letter to the President dated November 6, 2015 and signed by the Managing Director of System Specs, Mr. John Obaro, reads in part: "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 negotiations 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."
Culled from authorityngr.com