The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) will update its oil, gas and mining sectors information and data bank to ensure that its 2012 audit reports are regular with current industry realities.
The agency has already commenced the process of procuring the services of reputable, independent and experienced firms to handle the next audit exercise to bridge the gaps on vital information and data on payments by oil and gas companies into the Federation Account and actual receipts by the government through its agencies.
NEITI audit will also find out if the companies made the expected payments and if government received what was expected as and when due with respect to taxes, royalties, levies, signature bonuses and others.
The audit report would also include full information on hydrocarbon (oil and gas) volumes produced as well as refined petroleum product exported or imported for domestic use, while comparing all payments by companies against receipts by government agencies to determine its accuracy, underpayments and balances payable to the federation account.
The NEITI Director of Communications, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said the exercise would help expose lapses, ensure in-depth review of the policies and procedures used by both companies and government agencies for collection, computation, custody and management of the funds during the period.
For the mining sector, Mr. Orji said the audit would cover 2011 and 2012 transaction period, with specific focus on the volume of solid minerals produced (extracted and mined), exported and imported as well as comparison of all payments by mining companies against receipts by government agencies.
The exercise, he said, would similarly determine the accuracy, disclose all cases of under-payments, highlight the balances payable to the Federation and identify any lapses, while ensuring that policies and procedures on collection, custody, bases for financial computation and management of funds accruing from the solid minerals sector are reviewed for the period.
Regarding the on-going 2009-2011 oil and gas sector as well as the 2007-2010 solid minerals sector audits respectively, Mr. Orji said the exercises is being handled for the first time by two indigenous firms and have an reached advanced stage. He state that it would be completed before the end of the year.
On assumption of office, the Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed, gave assurance that NEITI Audit Reports, which was five years behind schedule, would become an annual event, to ensure that the contents of the reports are current information and data for civil society, the legislature, media and the public to use in holding government and companies to account.
“With the 2012 audit about to be commissioned in addition to the on-going audits, NEITI is set to meet this important national expectation,” Mrs Ahmed said. “This step by NEITI is fundamental, especially at this time when issues of transparency, accountability and corporate governance of revenues from Nigerian’s abundant natural resources especially oil and gas have become a matter of national concern to both Nigerians at home and around the world,” she added.