An Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) parliamentary group is to be established by the National Assembly as part of efforts to address remedial issues in the Nigerian EITI audit reports.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio said the new group is expected to draw membership from relevant oil and gas committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Mr Adio said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday that the group would be coordinating legislative actions on implementation of remedial issues identified by the NEITI independent audit reports in the extractive industry.
He said the Forum would also promote and strengthen intra-legislative committee relations, engagements and outreach on important issues requiring urgent legislative intervention and advocacy.
The NEITI executive secretary used the occasion to acknowledge the cordial working relationship between NEITI and the National Assembly, especially in areas of monitoring and oversight of the oil and gas industry.
NEITI audit reports
Since its inception in 2004, the NEITI has conducted eight independent audits in the oil and gas sector (1999–2004, 2005, 2006-2008, 2009-2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and one in the solid minerals sector (2015).
All the reports have always been accompanied with recommendations based on findings relating to violations of stipulated laws and regulations on revenue or tax remittances by companies or receipts by government and its agencies.
Regrettably, majority of these recommendations have always been observed in breach by the companies and the various government agencies, as there are no legal authority to NEITI to enforce compliance or issue sanctions for ignoring them.
Concerned about the recurring disregard to the recommendations in the reports, participants in a retreat in Lagos for members of the National Assembly on EITI implementation in Nigeria resolved to set up the parliamentary group to attempt to put a stop to it.
The Chairmen of the relevant committees on extractive industry issues in both the Senate and the House of Representatives explained the NEITI Reports usually contain comprehensive information and data as essential tools for national planning.
At the retreat, which was supported by Trust Africa Project, a non-governmental organisation, lawmakers and their aides were exposed to the principles, processes, methods and benefits of EITI implementation in Nigeria and the role of the legislature in the EITI value chain.
NEITI cover commodity trading
In a related development, NEITI says it has expanded its operations in the oil and gas industry to cover Commodity Trading.
Director, Communications and Advocacy, Ogbonnaya Orji, disclosed this at a workshop for government agencies and oil trading companies.
Mr Orji said NEITI’s decision to move into commodity trading was in line with the agency’s mandate, in compliance with EITI 2016 global standards.
He told participants that the overall objective of NEITI’s interest in commodity trading was to “improve transparency in the sale of the State’s share of production by government and State-owned enterprises among others.”
Calling on companies and government agencies involved in commodity trading to carefully study the developed templates by NEITI, he said this would help them internalize the new reporting requirements as part of their respective overall business model.
Representatives of government agencies, oil and gas companies welcomed NEITI’s decision to expand its operations to commodity trading, in view of the importance of transparency, fair competition and good business ethics.
The participants also advised NEITI to focus on ensuring accurate data on production, accurate measurement of volumes of government equity crude oil, including crude condensate, crude allocation for export and domestic use, accurate computation of in-kind revenues, taxes and royalty.
The agencies, petroleum products marketers and crude oil trading firms also identified marketing contracts and related agreements, process of transfer of income from sales of equity crude, liftings and other similar transactions as other key areas in commodity trading for NEITI to pay attention.
The workshop reviewed the templates developed to reconcile transactions in this sector and resolved to give the Marketers/Traders time to study and make inputs.