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Nigeria loses N1.74 trillion to absence of petroleum law

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Executive Secretary, NEITI, Waziri Adio

Nigeria lost N1.74trillion to the absence of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) in 2013, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
 
NEITI in a media statement, signed by Director, Communications & Advocacy, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, on Sunday, commended the National Assembly for the passage of PIGB, NEITI saying the sector had also lost over $10.4billion and N378.7billion through under-remittances, and inefficiencies, theft due to absence of a clear governance framework for the oil and gas industry.
 
The transparency watchdog expressed optimism that with the new governance law for the industry, these huge revenue losses arising from process lapses and outright stealing will be strictly checked if not eliminated.
 
According to NEITI, the decision of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Bill as priority resulting in its eventual passage is bold, courageous, and progressive.
 
It noted that NEITI as an agency set up to enthrone transparency and accountability in the management of extractive industries in Nigeria has legitimate interest in the PIGB.
 
“NEITI’s interest is in view of the urgency and strategic importance of a new law to replace the existing archaic legislations that have aided huge revenue losses, impeded transparency, accountability and investment opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
 
“NEITI recalls that as an anti-corruption agency in the sector, it boldly alerted the nation last year through a special Policy Brief, ‘The urgency of a new petroleum sector law,’ that the current stagnation of investment opportunities in the Petroleum Industry was as a result of the absence of a new law for the sector. This has led to huge revenue losses to the tune of over $200 billion. In that publication, which was widely circulated, NEITI argued that the “revenue losses were as a result of investments withheld or diverted by investors to other (more predictable) jurisdictions.”

The publication added that “The hedging by investors stems from the expectation that the old rules would no longer apply, but not knowing when the new ones would materialise.”
 
Furthermore, NEITI noted that the implementation of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which Nigeria is a key signatory, hade over the years been frustrated by the absence of a dynamic law that suits modern business modules and trends in the ever evolving oil and gas industry.


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