Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry.
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed plans to commence a comprehensive audit of activities within the Nigerian oil and gas industry for the 2012 fiscal year.
Coming at a time when issues of adherence to transparency in operations within the petroleum sector is on the front burner of national issues, NEITI stated that this will bring its cycle of audit reports on activities within the oil and gas sector to date.
Director, Communications of NEITI, Mr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said the move which began in 2004, was equally aimed at regularising the audit report with current information and data.
To this end, Orji explained that NEITI has initiated a procurement process for the next audit cycle of the industry, adding that it wants to bridge existing gaps in its audit of the sector and publish current vital information and data that would be of public interest with regard to payments made by oil and gas companies to the federation account in 2012, as well as establish the actual amount that the Federal Government received through its relevant agencies within the year.
The audit, according to Orji, will also find out if the companies paid what they were expected to pay and if government received what it was expected to receive as at, and when due.
He said: “The payments and receipts are with respect to taxes, royalties, levies, signature bonuses among others.”
Orji further stated: “The audit will as usual, issue to the public, full reports on the quantities of oil and gas produced, how much of that quantity that were refined, either exported or imported and the quantity for domestic use. It will compare all payments made by companies against receipts by government agencies to determine its accuracy, disclose all underpayments, and highlight balances payable to the federation account. The exercise will expose lapses; carry out in-depth review of the policies and procedures used by both companies and relevant government agencies for the process of collection, computation, custody and management of the funds during the period under review.”
He equally noted that the scope of the audit would span through 2011 and 2012 transaction, with specific focus in finding out the quantities of solid minerals produced, exported and imported, compare all payments made by mining companies, against receipts by government agencies in the Mining sector. The immediate past chairman of NEITI’s National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Prof. Asisi Asobie, has condemned the failure of the National Assembly to hold public hearing on NEITI’s audit report, citing such to have contributed to issues of corruption on the fuel subsidy.
Meanwhile, the statement further disclosed that on-going industry audit of the oil and gas sector for the period 2009 t0 2011and the solid minerals sector for the period 2007 to 2010 respectively have reached advanced stages.
The exercise being handled for the first time by two indigenous firms was expected to be completed on or before the end of this year.
Expectedly, the audit report would provide detailed independent findings and recommendations following international criteria of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for which Nigeria is not only a signatory but one of the founding member countries.