Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday promised that the Buhari administration will implement the report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), to see how billions of dollars in oil revenue leakage can be curbed.
The Vice President’s promise was conveyed by the Chairman of NEITI, Mr Ledum Mitee, after a closed door meeting held at the Defence House, Abuja, with the head of the global watchdog on corruption, the International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (IEITI), Claire Short.
Speaking to State House correspondents, Short expressed confidence that the Buhari administration would fulfil the pledge to stamp out corruption and set up openness in the natural resources industries.
EITI had yesterday (Tuesday, June 16) called on the Nigerian Government to implement its past reports in its quest to reform the mineral extractive sector of the economy.
The EITI Chairperson expressed the view that the Nigerian Government had a ready-made tool in the reports of NEITI which could be relied upon to reform the sector.
She advised the government to consider a major shakeup in the oil and gas industry if the benefits from Nigeria’s abundant resources are to be felt by all Nigerians.
Mr Mitee also appealed to the government to overhaul the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) set up to implement NEITI reports, arguing that the team has recorded very little progress, while the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, urged the government to take urgent steps to divest Nigeria’s interest in the joint ventures operations to free the country from huge burden imposed by joint venture obligations.
Mrs Ahmed also advised the government to critically examine the management of domestic crude allocations, consider the removal of oil subsidy, abrogation of oil swap arrangement and take urgent steps to recover huge sums that are outstanding in the hands of companies as a result of underpayments, underassessment of taxes, rents and royalties.
Nigeria joined the global IEITI in 2003 and began implementation in 2004 and supported same with a law in 2007.
NEITI, in some of its past audit reports had alleged several irregularities in the extractive industries including unremitted dividends and abuse of the petroleum subsidy regime.
The four year audit reports between 2009 and 2012 contained an alleged unremitted $11.6 billion to the Federation Account.