NEITI Seeks Timely Provision of Data by Agencies, Companies

•Inaugurates inter-ministerial task team

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday urged government agencies as well as oil and mining firms to comply with the law in the prompt provision of data and information to the organisation.

Speaking in Abuja at the inauguration of the the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) of NEITI, the Chief Executive of the initiative, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, explained that the law clearly spells out sanctions for flouting the rules.

The IMTT is an important aspect of the EITI process in Nigeria, being a decision made by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) after the release of the first NEITI oil and gas report that covered years 1999-2004.

The essence of the task team is to study each NEITI industry report, map out the key findings in the reports and identify the agencies that are responsible, to carry out the remedial actions as recommended by the independent administrators.

It is also expected to map out strategies that will track and report on the progress made towards the implementation of the findings and recommendations in the NEITI reports.

Orji stated that the objective was to ensure that NEITI does not just publish reports that gather dust on the shelves of the agency, but that the findings of the reports help to deepen government oversight and reform of the oil, gas and mining sectors.

He stated that it is only by doing this that productivity, transparency and accountability will be ensured in a manner that provides the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the natural resources endowed in the country.

“We therefore call on all the covered entities that will be covered by this report to give us their full cooperation. We also warn that adherence, timely provision of information and data by relevant government agencies and companies covered by this process are very fundamental, mandatory and a requirement,” he stated.

On the importance of the IMTT, he stated that last EITI validation and the recent international mission conducted by the EITI in Nigeria, equally identified the need for the body  and reinforced NEITI’s position that the task team should be invigorated and strengthened to help oversee the implementation of NEITI reports recommendations.

NEITI, he said, is therefore convinced that the IMTT framework is better positioned to meet the challenges identified in the governance framework that has been put in place for the extractive sector.

According to Orji, NEITI is also of the view that the achievements and impacts it has recorded in the sector will be tracked and documented under the framework of the IMTT.

“This is against the background that the IMTT structure will support in tracking and measurement of where we are, where we should be and how we could get there,” he stated.

The inter-ministerial representatives from the key agencies include: The Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), NNPC, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Mining Cadastre Office, amongst others, are also represented.

He stated that NEITI has also since commenced the conduct of its 2022/2023 industry reports of the oil, gas and solid minerals sector.

“ Our scope of coverage is very wide and the outcome of this very important industry reports covering companies doing business in both sectors will be very insightful for the government, the legislature, the civil society and the international development partners as well as investors interested in investing in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

“Transparency and accountability of transactions and operations of the sector are key to making investment decisions concerning the sector. The EITI report globally and NEITI reports in Nigeria have constituted a very important benchmark for measuring adherence to the noble ideals across the globe.

“NEITI is determined to publish the 2022-2023 reports by September, 2024,” Orji added.

Also speaking, a Director from the Office of the SGF, Simon Tyungu, stressed that although the job will be arduous, the team will do its best for the sake of Nigerians.

“As a matter of fact, you all know that NEITI is an agency of transparency, and I want to urge all of us that in the conduct of this business, in the conduct of our assignment, we have to be mindful of what we do because NEITI activities are in the glare of the press and international body EITI,” he stressed.

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