The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it wants the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to run its affairs in “an open, transparent and accountable process to build public trust and citizens’ benefits of the abundant natural resources in the country.”
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, said it was a misconception of the mandate of the transparency and accountability agency to hold the impression that its audit report findings were incomplete without an attack on NNPC’s operations.
Mr Adio was speaking in Abuja on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari, in his office at the NNPC Towers.
“We have nothing against the NNPC,” he said. “All what we request the NNPC to do is to run its affairs in an open, transparent and accountable process required to build public trust and citizens’ benefits of the abundant natural resources in the country.
“It is a misconception of NEITI’s role as an anti-corruption agency in the oil, gas and mining sector to have the impression that NEITI report findings is never complete without an attack on NNPC’s operations.
“NEITI’s constant engagement with the NNPC on its operations is based on the agencies mandate to promote corporate ethics, transparency and accountability in the governance of the country’s oil and gas industry,” Mr Adio said.
The Executive Secretary said in the last four years, the operations of the NNPC has continued to improve towards openness through the regular publication of its financial reports.
He, however, noted that a lot still needs to be done in the area of reforms for the NNPC to compare favourably with similar global organisations around the world.
According to Mr Adio, NEITI decided to visit Mr Kyari because the agency believes the new NNPC GMD “is a transparency champion and a long-known ally to NEITI.”
Welcoming the appointment of Mr Kyari and his team, the NEITI scribe said his agency was ready to work with the NNPC in the key mandate areas of promoting transparency, accountability and good governance of the country’s natural resources.
He advised the new GMD and his team to ensure the corporation’s audited financial reports were published regularly, and also expand on its achievements so far towards making NNPC operations more open and accountable.
Mr Adio reminded Mr Kyari of the need for the NNPC to take up its full responsibility in the implementation of the new EITI standards on Beneficial Ownership Disclosure, Commodity trading, Mainstreaming and application of the 2019 EITI global standard approved recently in Paris.
On the issue of public disclosure, Mr Adio urged the corporation to create a Freedom of Information portal on its website to enable it to respond real-time to requests from citizens.
In his response, Mr Kyari reaffirmed the NNPC’s commitment under his watch to work closely with NEITI on the basis of mutual respect, partnership and collaboration to enhance transparency and accountability in all aspects of its operations.
He said the NNPC will give attention to build public trust in the areas of transparency, accountability and good governance, particularly in ensuring the NNPC begins to publish its annual audited financial report next week.
Mr Kyari said although the NNPC was committed to transparency and accountability to the Nigerian people, a line must be drawn between genuine requests for information and malicious attempts to drag it into politics using the FOI law as cover.
On the disclosure of contracts and contractors, the NNPC GMD said the details of the contract awarded under the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme would be made public in August.
“We will make the monthly financial and operations reports more accessible by publishing the soft copies of the reports from January to May 2019,” he said.