National Assembly complex
By Abimbola Akosile and Adedayo Akinwale
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the National Assembly to intensify their oversight functions on the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) process by demanding strict compliance to the NEITI Act and adherence to stipulated time lines.
This, the civil society organisation said, would ensure transparency as the recurrent trend of belated release of NEITI Audit Reports was a contributing factor, which is harmful to the quest of achieving transparency in the sector.
The call and disclosure was made Tuesday in Abuja by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, during a media interaction on the NEITI process in Nigeria.
Rafsanjani said the NEITI Secretariat, which is mandated to ensure accountability in revenue receipts, due process in revenue payments, posting of revenue and application of resources and compliance to EITI principle, has only succeeded in giving only one report for 1999-2004/2005 since it was established.
He said: “The release of Audit Reports is still characterised by backlogs. So far only reports for 1999-2004/2005 were released. The 2006-2008 report is still not formally released even though there had been promises to this effect since February, this year. The 2009-2011 is due by June 2012 and the chances of meeting this time line are doubtful.”
This, according to him, has succeeded in making Nigeria to drop nine steps in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index.
“We must remind all stakeholders in the NEITI Process, that irregular audit of reports, absence of annual activity reports and remediation are stipulated reasons for possible delisting and loss of validation status by the EITI international.
“It is a shame that Nigeria don’t know the amount of oil being produced and instead of supervising the companies, we now relied on them to give us the statistics in which they will not be honest with us”, he noted.
Rafsanjani added that the oil companies played an important role in frustrating the non- passage of PIB in the last Assembly and expressed hope that the current set of legislators would ensure its passage this time around.
Also speaking, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo, said the issue was not about criticising the government; but about partnering the government to ensure efficiency in the sector.
Toyo stressed that NEITI was created by law, “but are we using it efficiently in discharging it duties expected of it?
She called on the media to ensure a wider dissemination of the issues contained in the Act and also charged her fellow legislators to look closely at the NEITI process and ensure it is better applied in the oil and gas industry.