President Adama Barrow is banking on the expertise of Nigeria, with the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), to help The Gambia set up a Treasury single account (TSA) for the government. The decision to adopt a treasury single account was adopted in February 2020 in a special cabinet meeting as a mean to consolidate all the government funds in Central Bank of the Gambia for revenue, transparency and avoid misappropriation of public funds.
As pressure mounts on The Gambia to improve the government’s public financial management and fiscal discipline, a consensus emerged with donors and partner agencies that the implementation of treasury single account is the great leap worth trying. Beyond making it a piecemeal reform, an effective and sustainable treasury single account required deep, comprehensive, and good institutional leadership as well as a strong political will.
From all indications, a year of efforts and consultations have set the pace for The Gambia’s transition to the implementation of a treasury single account. A week ago, the government of The Gambia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Nigeria to establish a Technical co-operation in support of the process.
The deal seeks to avail the Gambia with the knowledge, experience and technical expertise that Nigeria has gained in 15 years of implementing a treasury single account. The MoU further avails the Gambia government with a knowledge of the other public financial management reforms Nigeria has undertaken.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna told the Gambian delegation that the treasury single account has helped Nigeria block leakages and save more of its hard-earned resources. “We can now easily determine our aggregate cash balance which is critical for managing public finances at a time of acute fiscal constraints. We are also saving an average N45 billion monthly in interest payments“, she said.
According technicians the Chronicle talked to at the Gambia’s ministry of Finance, it will take more than signing an MoU with Nigeria to effectively implement a working treasury single account. Our contacts insist that institutional leadership and political will at the highest level with President Adama Barrow showing his commitment is paramount because the process will force a change of attitudes across sectors used to pillaging public funds.
The other challenge is for the government to create a payment gateway to facilitate payment transactions and make it available to all the remote areas of the country. One of our sources insists that to anticipate possible impediments, bottlenecks and interferences, it’s more advisable that the government outsource the payment gateway platform to a service provider.
The treasury single account will cover all government ministries, departments and agencies as well as Government Self Accounting Projects. State owned enterprises and funds are not covered by the TSA.