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Expect Response Soon, saraki Replies BudgIT

Dr Bukola Saraki Senate President
Posted: Jun 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Friday morning assured that in line with his promise to operate an open door policy, management of the National Assembly is soon to provide information on the federal legislatures N115 billion 2016 budget.

In a tweet on his official twitter handle, @bukolasaraki, he assured pressure group, BudgIT Nigeria Public and Private Sector Development Centre (PPDC): “Your letter was received and the management should have responded or be doing so soon.”

The group had earlier on Friday tweeted: “Perhaps, sir, you will respond and address the #OpenNASS issue Nigerian citizens are talking about.”

The pressure group had after several weeks of waiting for Senator Saraki to fulfill his promise to ensure a transparent National Assembly, written to the management of the National Assembly under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act of 2011, demanding for the release of the breakdown of its 2016 budget.

In separate letters signed by Stanley Achonu, its Operations Lead and each referenced BN/FOI/NASS/8/03, addressed to the Senate President, (dated May 23 and received by his office two days letter), Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives (May 24 and received the following day) and Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly, BudgIT urged the officials to provide such details as total number of legislative aides engaged, the number of staff on the payroll of the National Assembly Management Service Commission and their grades.

According to the group, “we would appreciate if response is given within seven days as stipulated in the Freedom of Information Act, 2015 for speedy communication to citizens.”

The officers were offered the choices of sending the budget breakdown in via electronic mail to a designated e-mail address, in a compact disc, or a hard copy delivered to BudgIT’s Abuja address.

In a series of tweets on its twitter handle: @BudgIT Nigeria, the group continues to hold Dr. Saraki by his promise to ensure transparency in the financial dealings of the National Assembly, which according to some, “belongs to Nigerians… (and) the funds budgeted for the National Assembly is ours,” hence the right to know.

Also, the public accountability pressure group, has sent FOI request to the Central Bank of Nigeria for details of the N689.5 billion bailout given to states of the federation so far by the CBN and Debt Management Office.

The letter titled “Freedom of Information Request on the bailout given to states by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Debt Management Office,” with reference BN/FOI/7/01, dated May 23 addressed to the CBN Governor, asked for “comprehensive details per state for the total sum of N689.5 billion disbursed as salary assistance loan to states as declared at the 66th National Economic Council (meeting).”

The letter also signed by Achonu, requested for “comprehensive details per state for the total sum of N310 billion disbursed as Excess Crude Account-backed loans to states as declared at” at the said meeting.

The CBN Governor was also urged to provide “any other information required for public enlightenment on the bailout package provided to states and the Federal Government since May 29, 2015 by the (CBN),” within seven days.