The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency initiative (NEITI), Mrs Zainab Ahmed has asked the Federal Government to amend the NEITI Act to enable it implement her audit reports on the extractive, oil and gas sector of the economy.
“We are not asking for new powers, we are just asking for provisions to be made more clearly. For example, the NEITI Act has provisions for NEITI to conduct audits; which is what we call reporting.Then it has provisions for NEITI to disseminate the outcome of these audit reports, but there is no provision for remediation, which is the most critical part of the work we are doing.
“Remediation is the act of implementing the recommendations of the NEITI audit reports. That is the much needed reform that we require in our oil and gas and mining sectors.
“So we are pushing for a clear remediation to be put in the Act so that all agencies that are responsible for implementing corrective measures will do so because the Act calls for it and the National Assembly will feel more strengthened in enforcing the recommendations of the Act.
“In the process of implementation we noticed some gaps, that if remedied, will improve the implementation mandate that NEITI has. Some of these gaps have to do with the sanctions that have been provided for the Act”, she said.
According to Mrs Zainab, if the powers to implement the reports of her audit are granted by an Act, corruption in the sector will be reduced.
The Executive Secretary further noted that the agency is also proposing for a review of the funding pattern and the composition of the agency’s governing board with a view to strengthening her operations.
“We are also proposing some new provisions relating to how NEITI is funded. We are looking at some improvements in how the governing board of NEITI is put together”, adding that “there are quite a number of provisions that are targeted at strengthening NEITI as an agency, strengthening its implementation mandate for continuous transparency and accountability in the oil and gas and mining sectors of our country”, she added.