Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The federal government has not done enough to reform the Nigerian National Corporation (NNPC) into a transparent and accountable national oil company Nigerians can trust, the National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Mr. Peter Egbule has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a two-day multi-stakeholders’ workshop for civil societies working in Nigeria’s extractive sector at the weekend in Enugu, Egbule, said despite the intentions of the current federal government to reform the NNPC, a lot of work was still needed to open up the corporation and move it away from its past records of corrupt practices in its operations.
He said: “Those intentions must materialise into actions that the ordinary man on the street can feel. For instance, the NNPC runs as government within a government, they do their budget, they decide how much they retire or spend, they decide what profit they plough back and sometimes like one of the issues raised in the last audit of NEITI is the $15.8 billion NLNG money that is unremitted to the Federation Account.”
Egbule, stated that there has to be a change in the structure of the corporation either through reforms or unbundling, adding that the biggest issue in the Nigerian extractive industries remained that of accountability and transparency
“The biggest issue for us is accountability and transparency across board, the value chain in the extractives. Extractive again is misunderstood as being oil and gas that is one of the key issues. We want to also make people to understand that extractives span beyond oil and gas into solid minerals.
“We are also trying to push it beyond just oil and gas, and solid minerals into forestry. For us also, if you look at the entire value chain lot of the operations are very opaque so for it is the issue of transparency, openness across board,” he noted.
According to him, Nigeria has though done relatively well in the implementation of the principles of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since it started.
He said on this: “I must give kudos to NEITI Secretariat, so far there has been good effort in trying to sieve out the gaps which call the remediation issues but my worry is that there is no link between the identification of the issues and remediating those issues that have been identified. That is a problem.
“If you want to talk about identifying the issues, we have fared well but remediating those issues there are still gaps, a lot of gaps. We have not done and that is one of the issues we discussing now”.