Fi­nance min­istry dodges FOI re­quest

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah

The Federal Min­istry of Fi­nance has dodged a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act (FOIA) re­quest sent to it by Daily Trust.

This news­pa­per wrote a re­quest to the min­istry seek­ing for in­for­ma­tion on federal fund al­lo­ca­tions for cer­tain months but it re­fused to give out, even though the min­istry pub­lishes sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion in news­pa­pers as ad­ver­to­ri­als.

In a let­ter dated March 10, 2014, Daily Trust re­quested from the fi­nance min­istry records of the monthly rev­enue al­lo­ca­tion to the three tiers of govern­ment for some spe­cific months.

But the min­istry dodged and re­ferred the news­pa­per to the Of­fice of the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, which also de­clined to give the in­for­ma­tion, say­ing it was avail­able on­line.

But Daily Trust could not find in­for­ma­tion for these months on­line.

The fi­nance min­istry has been pub­lish­ing the monthly Fed­er­a­tion Ac­counts Al­lo­ca­tion Com­mit­tee (FAAC) rev­enue al­lo­ca­tion records in news­pa­pers.

Daily Trust re­quested the FAAC monthly al­lo­ca­tions de­tails for the months of Au­gust, Septem­ber and Novem­ber in 2013 and Jan­uary 2014 which are not avail­able on the web­site of the min­istry.

But in its re­ply signed by its di­rec­tor of press, Mr. A.I. Oko­rafor, on be­half of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, the min­istry said: “Please be in­formed that the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion is the cus­to­dian of all records re­lat­ing to rev­enue al­lo­ca­tion to the three tiers of govern­ment by the Fed­er­a­tion Ac­counts Al­lo­ca­tion Com­mit­tee (FAAC).

“You may there­fore chan­nel your re­quest to the Of­fice of the Ac­coun­tant-Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion (OAGF) which is the ap­pro­pri­ate agency that could sup­ply the re­quired in­for­ma­tion.”

In line with the fi­nance min­istry’s sug­ges­tion, an­other FOI re­quest let­ter was writ­ten to the ac­coun­tant-gen­eral’s of­fice on March 10, 2014 re­quest­ing for the same in­for­ma­tion.

The ac­coun­tant gen­eral’s of­fice also dodged this re­quest. In its re­ply, dated March 19 and signed by its di­rec­tor of funds, M. K. Dikwa, the ac­coun­tan­tgen­eral’s of­fice said: “I re­fer to your let­ter of 10th March, 2014 and wish to in­form you that the in­for­ma­tion you are re­quest­ing for is avail­able on our web­site which is www.oagf.gov.ng for your fur­ther ac­tion.”

When our re­porter logged onto the web­site the in­for­ma­tion re­quested was not there.

“No FAAC re­port as­so­ci­ated with this month & year” was the re­sult given when­ever queries ask­ing for these spe­cific months were en­tered into the web­site search box.

PHOTO: NAN

Sacked elec­tric­ity work­ers protest­ing over the non-pay­ment of their dis­en­gage­ment al­lowances in Ibadan yes­ter­day.

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