Until August 11, 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari ordered stoppage of multiple accounts, the Federal Government had, for at least 48 years, breached its own rules on collection and management of national revenues.
As opposed to keeping common funds in multiple accounts in commercial banks, contrary to the provision of the constitution, Buhari recently ordered implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA), into which all ministries, departments and agencies (MDSs) of government, which are funded from the Federation Account, will henceforth pay their earnings.
The constitutional provision for single account — beginning from 1954 — notwithstanding, investigation revealed that since 1967, successive administrations have “been breaking the law” by operating multiple accounts. Apart from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the latest in the list, the controversial Sovereign Wealth Account (SWA) is being challenged by state governors, though it has been legitimised by an Act of Parliament that birthed the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the managing agency for the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
In an exclusive interview in Ibadan, Oyo State, a budget historian and lawyer, Dr. Tunji Ogunyemi, attributed operation of the ‘illegal accounts’ to “exigency and, sometimes, corruption.”