Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative ((NEITI) has said that the country earned N741.48 billion from oil and gas sales between 1999 and 2020, a period of 21 years.
The Executive Secretary of the organisation, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, who made the assertion at a stakeholders’ engagement forum on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in Abuja, further revealed that NEITI had conducted and published 25 cycles of audit reports in the oil and gas sector, covering the same period.
Orji said that from the reports, the amount accrued to the Nigerian government from the oil and gas sector during the period, stressing that NEITI had recently embarked on an expansion of its operations to support government’s revenue growth plan.
“The 2021 oil and gas sector audit is currently ongoing and will soon be released,” Orji added.
“This is guided by a five-year strategic plan (2022-2026) which will enable the agency to establish a presence and operate at sub-national levels to support government’s revenue growth plan and resources mobilisation,” he explained.
He expressed delight that NEITI’s reports had led to the recovery of several billions of dollars by government from companies operating in the sector.
According to him, the recommendations made by NEITI in its reports also triggered huge reforms in the sector.
Orji assured that NEITI would provide the information and data in the oil and gas sector that would help the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), of which it is a member, to effectively implement the PIA.
He added: “As an agency charged with promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, NEITI has responsibility to facilitate and strengthen participation by diverse stakeholders for a successful implementation of the PIA.”
While emphasising the need for effective implementation of the PIA, Orji noted that the PIA provided wider roles for NEITI in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, clearly spelling out the need for transparency and accountability.
“Therefore, the implementation of the Act and full operationalisation of its provisions are of great interest to NEITI and its stakeholders.
“NEITI has been working with relevant stakeholders and leveraging on our experience and exposure in the oil and gas sector to ensure that the implementation of the PIA delivers its objective and desired results,” Orji said.
Orji said the programme was designed to provide a platform for stakeholders, and state and non-state actors to discuss and engage with the process of PIA implementation and make meaningful contributions, explaining that it will also serve as a platform to update the public and galvanise the needed public support for the implementation of PIA.
According to him, the primary responsibility of the steering committee was to guide the effective and timely implementation of the PIA and ensure that the new institutions created are fully prepared and positioned to deliver on their mandates under the new legislation.
As an agency with the mandate to promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sectors, with a multi-stakeholders platform for dialogue on natural resources governance, NEITI, he said, has a huge responsibility to facilitate and strengthen the participation of diverse stakeholders for a successful implementation of the PIA.
“ So far, NEITI has conducted and published 25 cycles of audit reports in the oil and gas sector, covering the period 1999-2020. From the report, a total of $741.48 billion was recorded as revenue earnings to government coffers from the sector.
“Besides, NEITI reports have led to the recovery of several billions of dollars by the government from companies operating in the sector. Recommendations of our reports are also triggering huge reforms in the sectors, one of which is the PIA we are discussing here today,” he added.
In his remarks, Chairman of NEITI’s Governing Board, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, said the board has resolved to prepare NEITI to deliver on Nigeria’s international obligations and meet Nigerians’ expectations on transparency and accountability.
Adekunle said the move was expected to position Nigeria to attract the much-needed Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the oil and gas sector while supporting her revenue growth plan and resource mobilisation.
“The board resolved to prepare NEITI to deliver on Nigeria’s international obligation and meet citizens’ expectations on the twin components of transparency and accountability and to position Nigeria to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment in the sector while supporting Nigeria’s revenue growth plan and resource mobilisation,” he stated.