The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said on Sunday that it has begun `a comprehensive’ audit of the operations of the country’s oil and gas as well as the solid minerals sectors of the economy.
NEITI Director of Communications, Orji Orji, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in London that the exercise, which commenced last February, would be concluded in October.
Orji listed the organisations being audited to include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
“While the audit of the oil and gas industry covers the period 2009 to 2011, while that of the solid minerals is to cover 2007 to 2010,” Mr. Orji said.
He said NEITI’s comprehensive audit of the establishments was designed to sanitise the sector, enthrone good business ethics and restore investor confidence.
“All companies operating in the oil and gas and solid minerals sectors in the country are compulsorily required by NEITI law to open its books and provide relevant information and data on demand for purposes of the audit,” he stressed.
Mr. Orji further explained that NEITI has already designed the templates for the two audits, with detailed questions, information and data required for the exercise to reflect the revenue flows between the operators and the various revenue agencies.
He said the templates were recently publicly presented to all companies doing business in the Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
Describing the audit process as encouraging, the NEITI spokesman enlisted the cooperation of the companies for the exercise, warning that companies that fail to respond to audit queries risk stiff sanction, including withdrawal of operating license or prosecution.
He explained that the scope of the audit includes largely the determination of the revenue accruable to government from the companies and how much of such revenues went into the Federation Account.
NEITI was inaugurated in 2004 with the mandate to promote due process and transparency in the extractive industry.