Audit reports: NEITI wants portion of funds recovered by FG

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By Michael Eboh

THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, is seeking for share in the monies recovered on the basis of its reports.

NEITI had on a yearly basis, released about 12 audit reports revealing amounts of money accruing to the country that were unremitted, diverted and misappropriated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiaries, as well as other operators in the petroleum and solid minerals industries.

Speaking at a workshop for media professionals in Nasarawa State, NEITI’s Director of Communications, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, stated that other agencies, like the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, among others, had used NEITI’s reports to recover huge funds for the Federation and had to take about four per cent of such funds in most cases, while NEITI, the originator and presenter of the reports was not entitled to any percentage of the recovered funds.

He argued that if NEITI is entitled to some percentage of the funds, it would go a long way in boosting its finances and help it expand its scope and reach.

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Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, disclosed that NEITI reports have become major instruments leading the ongoing massive reforms in the extractive industry, stating that all its recommendations since 1999 are now the major pillars of the reforms.

“These include NEITI recommendations for the restructuring of the NNPC, removal of fuel subsidy, cancellation of Crude oil for Products Exchange and Offshore Processing Arrangement and Federal Government’s exit from Joint Venture Cash Call,” he explained.

Adio, who was represented by the Director, Finance and Administration in NEITI, Mr. Donald Tyoachimin, disclosed that NEITI reports had revealed very weighty issues which when addressed would help improve governance and revenue management in the extractive industry, issues ranging from poor institutional linkages between the technical and the financial aspects of the industry; poor information system and inefficient system of financial management.

Others, he said, include poor metering infrastructure and grossly inefficient measurement system for crude oil production accounting and the absence of a clear basis for determining production volumes for royalty computation and a reliable fiscal regime.

He said, “These deficiencies revealed by NEITI in all of its audits have over the years cost the Nigerian federation dearly. They were key sources of waste, fraud and monumental corruption.”

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“The impact of NEITI on the Nigerian society can only be quantified when measured against the huge revenues recovered and accruing to the federation, which is being channeled to the provision and upgrading of critical infrastructure for the citizenry,” he explained.

In his own presentation, Speaking, Chairman, Communication Committee, National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI,  Mr. Gbenga Onayiga, called on the media to fully come on board by actively engaging with NEITI reports and using the data and information contained therein to mobilize citizens for change and reforms in oil, gas and mining sectors.

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