19 October 2011
Executive Secretary Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency
Plot 1012 Cadastral, Central Business District
Dear Sir: Re: Freedom of Information Act 2011: Request to provide detailed information on the spending on fuel ‘subsidy’ for the year 2011
I am writing to you as Solicitor to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and I have the instructions of my client to respectfully request you to provide detailed information on the government spending on fuel ‘subsidy’ since the beginning of 2011 to date, and to publish widely the information on a dedicated website. This request is brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
SERAP is a human rights non-governmental organization whose mandate includes the promotion and securing the enforcement of the socio-economic rights of Nigerians, and campaign for transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors through human rights.
We are seriously concerned that while N250 billion was allocated for fuel ‘subsidy in 2011, by the end of August 2011, over N900 billion has been spent. We are concerned that the figures may have been exaggerated. According to our information, some of the vouchers on petroleum products purportedly imported over three years ago are now being submitted for reimbursement in 2011.
We are also concerned that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has abdicated its statutory responsibility by allowing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to operate without any control. This is evident in the questionable reimbursement of petroleum products without scrutiny by your Agency.
We are also concerned that Nigeria is the only oil producing country in the world that has engaged in the importation of refined petroleum products for the past two decades. It is disturbing to note that the bulk of the petroleum products supposedly subsidised by the government is smuggled into neighbouring countries where they are sold at international prices.
As a consequence, millions of poor and disempowered Nigerians continue to subsidise systemic and widespread corruption by the government, and the failure of the government to maintain the existing refineries and build new ones.
Such failure is a major contributory factor for the situation of extreme poverty in the country, which in itself is a violation of human dignity, inhibiting the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.
In the light of the foregoing, SERAP therefore asks you to provide the following information: 1. The basis and expectations on which the calculation of N250 billion as fuel ‘subsidy’ was made 2. Detailed information and justifications for the increase in the budget allocation for fuel ‘subsidy’ from N250 billion for 2011 to over N900 billion by August 2011 without supplementary appropriation authorising the expenditure
3. Detailed information about the full list of importers of petroleum products in Nigeria The disclosure of the information requested will give SERAP and the general public a true picture and a clear understanding on whether the allocated budget for fuel ‘subsidy’ has been transparently and effectively spent.
We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request. Yours sincerely,
FEMI FALANA Solicitor to SERAP