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NGO decries non-detailing of transfers in 2012 appropriation bill

Published by Guardian on Mon, 23 Jan 2012

CENTRE for Social Justice (CSJ) has decried the non-detailing and disaggregation of statutory transfers in the 2012 Appropriation Bill.Having gone through the details of the 2012 Appropriation Bill and the estimates as detailed in the website of the Budget Office of the Federation and the printed version the CSJ discovered that statutory transfers are stated as lump sums without any details or disaggregation.In a letter addressed to the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, signed by the lead director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere and made available to The Guardian, the CSJ explained: 'Unlike the estimates of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) including the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance, there are no details showing the components of the lump sums and how the Ministry of Finance arrived at these sums stated as statutory transfers.The letter tagged 'In the Matter of the Freedom of Information Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act: Request for the Details of Statutory Transfers in the 2012 Appropriation Bill said: 'Due to the way these statutory transfers are stated as lump sums, Nigerians have been denied the opportunity of making inputs into the approval process of the budgets of these agencies of government.'This is not acceptable in a constitutional democracy founded on the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people. Indeed, no agency of government, under any guise, should be allowed to spend public resources in a way and manner and for purposes not known to citizens.'We are therefore writing under the right to information guaranteed all Nigerians by the Freedom of Information Act and to request for the details of these statutory transfers in the form used to present other MDA expenditures. Our request is further strengthened by section 48 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 which requires the Federal Government to ensure that its financial and fiscal affairs are conducted in a transparent manner and accordingly ensure full and timely disclosure and wide publication of all transactions and decisions involving public revenues and expenditures and their implications for its finances.'We are addressing this request to you considering that the Minister of Finance is the Minister authorised by the Finance (Control and Management) Act to cause to be prepared in each financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditures of the Federation for the next following financial year, which shall be presented to the President for approval and thereafter laid before each House of the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.
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