The company that handled the refund of Federal Government funds in commercial banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria, System Specs, said it was not the only one that benefitted from the revenue that accrued from the exercise.
Rather, Systems Specs said the CBN and the banks from which the funds were moved also shared in the proceeds.
System Specs owns Remita, the e-payment and e-collection software used for the implementation of payments into the Treasury Single Account.
While the initial proceed said to have accrued from the deal was given as N25 billion, the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, said it has risen to as much as N60 billion.
Popularly known as TSA, the movement of Federal Government funds into the CBN was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office.
System Specs, in a letter to the President, signed by its Managing Director, John Obaro, said the contract for the refund of the money by the commercial banks to the CBN was not a recent one.
It said the contract was signed in 2011.
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was in charge of the country then, with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Governor of the CBN. Sanusi is now the Emir of Kano.
System Specs, in the letter to Buhari, said the N25 billion profit it was alleged to have made from the 1 per cent processing fee approved for it was actually shared by the company, the CBN and banks involved in the refund of the money.
It said based on an agreement, the processing fee was shared among itself, the affected banks and the CBN in ratios of .5 %, .4% and .1% respectively.
It said instead of the N8 billion, which the incumbent Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emiefile, said got to it, the company only received N3 billion.
The letter by Obaro to Buhari reads further: “Your Excellency, we are aware that you must have heard series of reports around the 1% processing fees chargeable on e-Collections of Government receipts. We will like to provide some background on these issues sir.
“System Specs was engaged to provide the Payment Gateway for TSA in 2011. While the payment leg of TSA commenced in January 2012, the collection component did not start as scheduled due to the resistance from a number of quarters and the absence of the political will to push this through.
“In 2013, CBN and OAGF setup a multi-stakeholder implementation committee and organised a joint seminar with key stakeholders, including banks, to agree formalities for commencement of e-collection.
“The Banks proposed a fee of 5% to compensate for the fact that they would no longer keep float.
“The implementation committee however recommended 2.5% after negotiation with the banks.
“The then AGF later approved 1% as processing fee, which was in turn communicated to all the stakeholders through CBN in December 2013. Subsequently, we executed a contract with CBN and other stakeholders involved on the provision of services to support TSA.
“Based on the increased scope of the TSA project, following your directive in August 2015 for all MDAs to join the scheme, we had highlighted the need for a stakeholder meeting to discuss the TSA e-collection fees. This was communicated to both CBN and OAGF.
“Instead of an invitation for a stakeholders meeting as requested, we received a directive from the CBN Governor to refund all TSA e-collection fees earned to date and to suspend all charges on the platform.
“System Specs has since complied fully with this directive and refunded all monies earned to date to CBN. This we did in good faith and without prejudice to avoid distractions that could becloud the bigger potential of the TSA project for our country.
“While we await clarification from OAGF/CBN on the way forward, we have since suspended all TSA e collection fees on the platform. This means that none of the TSA collection parties/channels are earning any fees for providing services to Government.
“This position is however not sustainable as the collection partner banks are threatening to suspend FGN TSA collections. This would clearly be playing into the hands of those who do not wish this initiative to succeed.
“We understand the strategic importance of the TSA project to this administration and the country at large. We have demonstrated good faith and continued commitment to the project in the last four years to deliver on our mandate.
“We will continue to do all within our power to bring the project to full term.
“Your Excellency, we would appreciate your kind and urgent intervention to ensure a speedy resolution of this matter before the banks stop collections.”