NEITI lauds Buhari over steps to cleanse NNPC, oil & gas industry
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has said it welcomes with hope and optimism the courageous steps taken so far by President Muhammadu Buhari to reform the oil and gas industry and to restructure the management and administrative organs of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
NEITI also endorsed other major decisions by President Buhari on sweeping reforms, including the recent directive on operation of a single treasury account system.
NEITI’s noted that it’s interest in this new policy is borne out of the fact that over 70% of the funds involved are directly or indirectly generated from extractive industries.
It said, “We find the single treasury account policy, a vital move and a major reform – driven decision that would help eliminate fraudulent practices created by multiple revenue accounts by government agencies.
“NEITI is therefore glad to identify with the work of the Adhoc Committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) made up of five Governors under the chairmanship of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.”
It added that, “The NEC adhoc committee set up by the President to investigate the inflows and outflows to and from the Federation account by revenue generating government agencies is a right step in the right direction.
“This decision is consistent with NEITI’s principles on efficient fiscal allocation, disbursement, value for money by prudent utilization of resources. We therefore appreciate the invitation and opportunity given to NEITI to make presentations to the Committee and to observe its proceedings. We found the sessions of the committee quite productive, open, participatory, interactive, revealing and engaging.”
NEITI also welcomed President Buhari’s decision to set up a Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption led by Prof. Itsay Sagay, SAN. “The work of this Committee is not only timely but very useful. It is a good platform for all the 21 anti-corruption agencies co-ordinated by the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (TUGAR) under the Chairmanship of NEITI to share information, and offer informed advice based on experiences over the years.
“It is our expectation that Prof Sagay’s Committee will provide NEITI and all the agencies under the Inter – Agency Task Team (IATT) an opportunity to make presentations,” it stated.
The watchdog agency said one important issue that NEITI will be bringing to the table if given opportunity is how the Committee can assist the government to recover over $7 billion owned by oil companies.
“These disclosures are contained in NEITI audit reports as cases of under payments, under assessment’s arising from subjective interpretation of MoUs and tax laws. We have no doubt that our contributions will add value to the work of the committee,” it noted.
It added that, “NEITI is encouraged that the measures taken so far largely inspire hope and confidence. The measures are also consistent with the findings and recommendations of NEITI in its various Independent Audit Reports. These Reports were ignored in the past,” the statement read.
It pointed out that as an agency set up by law to implement the global principles of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which Nigeria is a signatory, NEITI has a legitimate interest in the on-going sweeping reforms.