Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has identified poor statutory linkages between key government agencies and departments in Nigeria as the major reason why the country is unable to efficiently employ its natural resource revenues.
NEITI, explained that poor linkages among relevant agencies of the Nigerian government constituted a major constraint in her national planning, natural resource governance and public finance management.
To this end, it stated that it would work closely with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) to guarantee the integrity of data collation, validation and management of revenues from Nigeria’s extractive industries.
Its Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio disclosed this when he received the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, who paid him a visit recently, to seek the stated partnership.
According to a statement from the NEITI, Adio, during the visit noted that he was worried about the poor sectoral linkages in data generation, collation, management and dissemination on revenues generated or spent from the country’s oil, gas and mining sectors.
“Our doors are quite open; NEITI is ready and willing to work with sister agencies on information and data sharing, capacity and manpower development.
“We are also ready to collaborate and partner with the Office of the Auditor General in particular and other similar agencies in general to promote data integrity, openness, standards and uniformity in data collation, validation management and utilization,” Adio, said.
He further explained: “It is not just enough to be transparent; it is about being comprehensively transparent to ensure that the information is understood. Anything that will bring about transparency in the management of revenues we will give you all the support.”
“We are working for the same purpose; we have to leverage on the strengths of the different agencies. We have done this for fifteen years and we have the information that will guide you in the extractive industry,” he added, who equally reminded the OAuGF of its statutory responsibilities in the NEITI process.
The statement indicated that in response, Ayine, called for closer cooperation in data management and knowledge sharing towards efficient implementation of a World Bank funded programme on fiscal governance.
He outlined the importance of the donor funded project to building the capacity of identified pilot key government institutions on extractive revenue management.
“The World Bank funded programme is to address fiscal management issues which will help to strengthen accountability process of the nation’s economy,” said Ayine.
He added that about five Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government including the OAuGF were beneficiaries of the programme.
The others, he noted were the Ministry of Budget and Planning, National Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Public Procurement amongst others.
“It is essential that the integrity of our national statistics is enhanced,” Ayine explained while he reportedly described the NEITI as an institution of integrity, excellence on data generation, management and dissemination in the extractive industries.
He also explained that working closely with NEITI will support the desire of his office to establish a structure among key government agencies on data uniformity, transparency and accountability in extractive revenue reporting.
“it is very important and necessary that within us as institutions of the federal government that we create a structure whereby we collaborate and do our internal reconciliation of these figures for the integrity of our national data statistics,” he said.