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SystemSpecs Limited, the Nigerian FinTech firm providing Remita, the gateway solution for the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has described how the top-notch deployment of its electronic gateway enables the TSA.
Demola Igbalajobi, Divisional Head, Payment Gateway and Infrastructure for SystemSpecs Limited explored the issue in a presentation to a Gambian delegation led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ada Gaye, in Abuja on Wednesday.
A payment gateway facilitates a payment transaction by the transfer of information between a payment portal (such as a website, mobile phone or interactive voice response service) and the front-end processor.
According to Igbalajobi, following a review of options, Remita was adopted as the Payment Gateway for the Federal Government’s TSA in October 2011 and commenced operations in January 2012.
Speaking extensively on the role of a secure and efficient gateway for the TSA, Igbalajobi holds that the electronic gateway bridges the government system (TSA) with the commercial banks so that people can pay the government electronically and from different locations. It also provides payers with multiple channels to make payment to Government and makes the TSA available for round the clock transactions.
One of the important benefits mentioned by Igbalajobi is that it has enabled the government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) to access their bank statements independently as all accounts are now domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
“Prior to TSA, MDAs that have their accounts in commercial banks were able to go to their bank’s online platform and get their account statement…With the CBN having to provide these statements for them, we have to put in place something that will allow them to access their independent bank statements…the payment gateway allows those statements to be read electronically by the MDAs.
Moreover, the gateway provides secure integration with the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), which is aimed at improving the acquisition, allocation, utilisation and conservation of public financial resources.
Furthermore, the gateway secures integration with the National Tax Management/ Revenue Systems/ (ITAS) and other government revenue platforms. It also identifies every unique transaction, providing feedback on status of all transactions. This helps Government to simplify reconciliation and gain full oversight of its cash inflows and outflows.
According to Igbalajobi, “To say your TSA is quite successful, reporting oversight of cash flow and outflows and all key important things must be enabled. The government must be able to know how much it has, how much the MDAs have.”
Igbalajobi also spoke about how an efficient gateway facilitates some unplanned benefits of the TSA such as employment and revenue generation. According to the SystemSpecs representative, the gateway is vital to ensuring the TSA increases revenue for government.
“A key benefit of the TSA is increase in revenue, to do that, you must make it easy for people to make payment to government. A good payment gateway should provide options on how to pay government and encourage them to pay government on time, which will increase government revenue,” Igbalajobi said.
In his remarks, the Director of TSA, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation(OAGF), Sylva Okolieaboh, said that the implementation of the TSA did not come as easy as it seems, especially the enrolment of all MDAs on the policy in two weeks following President Buhari’s mandate in 2015. According to Okolieabor, the seamless execution of the project belies the inherent rigour involved.
“Following the order by the President to MDAs to comply with the policy, we worked assiduously to ensure that the mandate was achieved in no more than two weeks. The rigour of executing this project belies its inherent complexities. It took painstaking efforts from the Presidency, Minister of Finance, Account General of the Federation and other stakeholders to assuage the strain of the change on agencies thus making it as seamless as possible,” Okolieaboh said