Stakeholders in the extractive industries on Monday expressed concern that the poor pace of implementation of remedial issues flagged in the various audit reports conducted by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on the Nigerian oil, gas and solid minerals sectors, is eroding the multiple gains that should accrue from the sector.
The stakeholders drawn from companies, government agencies, civil society and the media were participants at a national conference on remediation organised in Abuja by NEITI with support from Trust Africa.
According to participants, poor remediation was robbing the country of the gains from its membership of the global EITI which is targeted at ensuring impactful reforms that should guarantee transparency, accountability and competition in the management of the sector.
To correct this anomaly, stakeholders called for speedy implementation of the findings and recommendations contained in NEITI reports for the impact of EITI in Nigeria in areas of poverty reduction, enthronement of transparency and accountability in the extractive industry to be felt.
The conference underlined the need to strengthen the Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) earlier set up by the Federal Government to address remedial issues.
The participants identified the IMTT as the weakest link in efforts at remediation and emphasised that unless the IMTT is strengthened to live up to its responsibility, remediation may not be achieved.
A lead presentation by NEITI at the conference identified some of the remedial issues to include unremitted funds, underpayments, and inadequate metering infrastructure. Others bother on the management of domestic crude allocation, licensing issues and poor governance of revenues from the industry.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, sought from relevant covered agencies and NEITI partners, support for a coordinated approach to implement remediation in the country’s interest.
Adio traced the history of the remedial issues since 1999 to NEITI’s last report in 2015, and expressed regret that many of the issues have become recurring decimals in successive NEITI reports.
Meanwhile, NEITI has decried attempts to misrepresent and politicize its work. This is in reaction to insinuation that the unremitted amount mentioned in the discussion materials represents money missing from the Federation Account under the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“For the avoidance of doubt, NEITI wishes to state that the document covered the period 1999 to 2015. The unremitted amounts mentioned largely related to NLNG dividends paid for the period between 2000 and 2015 and money due from 12 assets divested to NPDC between 2011 and 2013,” a statement Tuesday, by Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, NEITI’s Director Communications and Advocacy, clarified.
“Apart from this being legacy issues, at no point did NEITI mention money missing from the Federation Account,” Dr. Orji added.