NEITI was commended for its independence.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, may be considering Nigeria’s audit process as a model for the global extractive industries.
The Chair of the International Board of EITI, Claire Short, said, at the 6th global conference of the organisation in Sydney, Australia, that the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI’s implementation of its principles in the oil, gas and mining sectors is the most comprehensive.
Ms. Short, who was speaking at the public presentation of the “best extractive industry transparency implementing country award” to Nigeria, described the country’s auditing process as courageous and ambitious.
In line with the adopted EITI principles, each member-country of the international agency is expected to submit an annual financial audit of their extractive industries, detailing the revenue flows in terms of what was paid by the operating companies to government and what government agencies received from the companies.
However, Nigeria’s audit is a three phased exercise, comprising financial, physical and process audit of the extractive industry.
The physical audit covers the physical aspects of the business – including operation facilities, oil and gas fields and depots in the extractive industries – while the process audit covers the detailed processes showing how the revenues paid to and received by government was calculated by the various agencies and institutions involved in the management of the revenues from the extractive industries.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the award instituted by the EITI is to encourage resource-rich countries to embrace the principles of transparency, accountability and prudent management of revenues from oil, gas and mining to aid national development in support of poverty reduction.
Nigeria was voted the best implementing country among 39 member-countries of the world body that have so far embraced the initiative as signatories. The Board said the award was in recognition of the increasing demands by Nigerians for entrenchment of transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from the extractive industries through the ongoing reform programmes in the country.
EITI commended NEITI for its timely provision of information and data on Nigeria’s extractive industries through regular and independent audits of the oil, gas and mining sectors.
“NEITI’s recent decision to embark on independent tracking of fiscal allocations and statutory disbursements of extractive revenue funds to various tiers and levels of government was well applauded for its significance in ensuring legitimate utilisation of such funds in areas of citizens’ needs. The independence, quality, content, comprehensive and incisive nature of NEITI audit reports is a model for other member countries to emulate,” the Board noted.
The EITI International Board was delighted that NEITI’s interventions have helped the, Nigerian government recover over $2billion (N316billion) from agencies that withheld revenues they should have paid to government, adding that another outstanding sum of $9.6billion (N1.5trillion) was uncovered as potential revenues to the country.
“These efforts by NEITI have led to government’s response to public demands for reforms in the sector resulting in the introduction of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently pending before the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law, among other impacts,” Ms. Short said.
The Minister of Mines and Steel development, Musa Sada, head of the Federal Government delegation to the EITI Conference, while receiving the award, described it as an important endorsement of Nigeria’s democracy and the transformation agenda of the current administration.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Ledum Mitee; and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria accompanied the Minister to receive the award on behalf of the Federal Government.
NEITI has repeatedly complained of the refusal of the federal government to implement its audit report.