June 18 2015
From DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will take all necessary steps to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the audit reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Buhari spoke through Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while receiving the Chair of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Clare Short and her delegation at the Defence House, Abuja
The vice president affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to the implementation of the EITI principles as part of the plans to reform the oil and gas sector. Professor Osinbajo commended NEITI for its courage, diligence and commitment to corporate good governance of the oil, gas and mining industries. He said the Federal Government would carefully study the reports with a view to ensuring that the findings and recommendations guide government’s actions on the reforms.
Chair of EITI, Clare Short advised the government to consider a major shake-up in the oil and gas industry if the benefits of the nation’s abundant resources were to be felt by all Nigerians. “The NEITI reports have all the information and data that will guide the government to reform the industry. It is also important that the government integrate the NEITI into its overall economic policy team,” she said.
For his part, Chairman of NEITI, Ledum Mitee appealed to the government to overhaul the Inter -Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) set up to implement NEITI reports, saying the body had recorded very little progress.
Executive Secretary of NEITI also urged the government to take urgent steps to divest the nation’s interest in the joint venture operations to free the country from the huge burden imposed by the obligations of the undertakings.
Mrs. Ahmed advised the government to critically examine the management of domestic crude allocations, consider the removal of oil subsidy, abrogation of oil-swap arrangements and take urgent steps to recover outstanding sums from under-payments, under-assessment of taxes, rents and royalties.
Nigeria joined the global EITI in 2003, began implementation in 2004 and strengthened the process with a law in 2007. The NEITI Audit Reports between 1999 and 2011 had revealed a total revenue loss of $9.8billion to the Federation. The loss was as a result of underpayments, under-assessment of taxes, rents, royalties and other process lapses.
NEITI working with other agencies, has recovered $2.4 Billion from the total estimate. The breakdown of the recoveries shows that $1 billion was recovered from 1999 to 2004 Audit Reports and $550million was recovered from the NEITI Audit Reports of 2005. The 2006 to 2008 Audit Report led to a recovery of $447 million while NEITI Reports of 2009 to 2011 led to the a recovery of $416 million.