Posted by Salawu Zubairu, Sailendra Pattanayak and Yasemin Hurcan
Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa and the Federal Government’s (FGN) operations account for more than 13 percent of GDP. However, the management of the government’s cash resources was quite fragmented until a major reform was launched recently to implement a treasury single account (TSA). Prior to this reform, the federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) held more than 5,000 accounts in different banks. Due to these fragmented banking arrangements, the cash resources of the FGN were not being consolidated and huge cash balances were remaining idle in MDAs’ bank accounts, while the FGN was incurring ways and means charges to meet the cash shortfall. For example, at the end of 2009 the FGN had an overall cash balance of more than 362 billion Naira in the MDAs’ various bank accounts (held both at the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks), but the Central Bank still needed to provide ways and means financing of 147 billion Naira through the Consolidated Revenue Fund to meet the government’s cash requirements. To address this issue and strengthen FGN cash management system, the authorities sought technical assistance from the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD).