Investigations have shown that the rate of compliance with the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) directive has significantly improved across all the 104 Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools.
According to a large number of parents and guardians, they are now able to make payment of school fees through different electronic channels and commercial and microfinance bank branches across the country directly into the accounts of the schools at the Central Bank.
This follows the pattern of TSA compliance that is now recorded across the 40 Federal universities and 28 polytechnics despite initial resistance to the policy by academic and non-academic staff unions of the institutions.
A number of parents, most of whom are sending their wards to unity schools for the first time and are therefore new to the TSA compliance process, have however complained of the absence of information to guide them through the process.
They said they were being tossed from one cyber café to another in order to generate the RRR code required for making TSA payment. They also complained of being turned down at the branches of certain banks where they wanted to make cash payments for TSA and were told only electronic payments were valid.
The TSA policy commenced in 2012 under former President Goodluck Jonathan. It was however given a major boost in 2015 by President Muhamadu Buhari who mandated that all local and foreign government receipts and revenues including school fees payable to all federal institutions should be made directly into the specific accounts of such institutions held at the central bank.
Many parents have applauded the policy claiming it has led to the harmonisation of the number of payment items and the applicable fee for each of the items across the various unity schools.
According to Mrs. Adeze Ngwayi who has two children in two different unity colleges, it is now very easy to make payments for them from a single location instead of the earlier regime where she had to travel to each of the two different schools to make payment.
Speaking further, she said “having a single payment process is a welcome relief and having a standard RRR receipt issued by the federal government in respect of all payments gives you the confidence that payment are made directly into government accounts and not into private accounts of some principals who will use it to do other things while our children starve”.
On the issue of challenges encountered by new parents, it could not be ascertained if the Federal Ministry of Education has issued a standard payment process to all unity schools or if it is the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation responsible for providing such information.
The TSA however continues to be a poster child of the Buhari-led Government as one of its key initiatives aims at fighting corruption and improving public sector financial management.