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Implement extractive industry reforms recommended by NEITI’s audit reports, FG told

By News Express on 18/06/2015

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The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to implement the reports of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over the years, the NEITI reports have advocated reforms that are expected to ensure accountability in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Addressing State House correspondents at the Defence House, Abuja, after a closed door meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Chairperson of EITI, Mrs Claire Short, said it was unfortunate that the reforms recommended by NEITI’s reports for the nation’s oil sector were not implemented.

“You have elected a new government with commitment to a reform. NEITI has been one of our best EITI reporting countries in the quality of the analysis of what’s wrong. But up to now, there has been very little implementation of the reforms that they advocated.

“Now there is a real chance for those reforms to be implemented immediately and the government won’t have to go and do a new research. They can take up what have been exposed and implement. And that is what we discussed with the vice-president,” she said.

Mrs Short maintained that her visit was to further push for the reforms, particularly now that the country has a new government.

Accompanied by officials of the NEITI, Short frowned at serial corrupt practices within Nigeria’s oil sector and expressed optimism that the present government would implement some of the suggested reforms in the sector.

She said it was her organisation’s duty to ensure compliance of agreement by EITI’S member states to maintain transparency, saying her visit was to synergise with Nigerian government to ensure transparency within the extractive sector

The Chairman, NEITI, Mr Ledum Mitee said the sector had suffered set back and loss of several billions of revenue that accrued to the federation over the years due to lack of political will to implement findings and recommendations of its audit reports.

He said that the reports exposed several cases of mismanagement, under-payment of taxes and royalties, under-assessment of operational processes as well as other lapses.

According to him, the advocated reforms, if implemented, will help remedy the sector and make needed contribution to national development.

“We thought that this is a wonderful opportunity coming at this time with a new government that is committed to transparency, accountability and reforming the oil industry.

“At a time when the oil prices are going down, there is absolute needs and imperative for all of us to plug all the holes and recover all the monies that we can, which had been the highlights of the NEITI’s reports which we have been dishing out over the years,`` he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Short’s visit is being considered as a global endorsement of President Buhari’s administration commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability which are consistent with the principles professed by the EITI.

The President had reportedly listed implementation of the findings and recommendations of NEITI’s audit reports on activities of operators in Nigeria’s extractive industry as a priority for his administration in his first 100 days in office.

The visiting chairperson of EITI is expected to preside over a meeting of the Inter-ministerial Task Team set up by the Federal Government to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the NEITI audit reports within the duration of her 3-day visit.

Nigeria joined EITI in 2003 and subsequently began implementation of its principles when NEITI was established in 2004. (NAN)

•Photo shows Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Source News Express

Posted 18/06/2015 05:30:06 AM

 

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