NEITI recovers $2.4 billion from oil firms in five years

Oil Wells PHOTO:

Oil Wells PHOTO:

THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) recovered over $2.4 billion from covered entities and another $7 billion as recoverable revenue into government covers within the last five years.

This was disclosed by the out-going Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainad Ahmed, in Abuja while handing over the mantle of leadership to Dr. Orji Ogbonaya Orji, who will act pending the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary.

Ahmed, who was appointed Executive Secretary of NEITI on November 16, 2010, would have ended her tenure by November 15, 2015.

Ahmed further explained that an inter-agency body led by NEITI, has already been set up to recover more money from covered entities.

While NEITI reports became more regular under her tenure, Ahmed disclosed that the recommendations contained in the report dictated the reforms that have taken place in the Nigerian National Petroelum Corporation (NNPC), executed so far by Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

Ahmed, who is now a Minister-designate, pointed out that Nigeria needs more reforms in the extractive sector.

“I urge the NNPC reform team to take an in-depth look at all NEITI audit reports with a view to implementing the recommendations on the poor management of the Joint Venture Cash Call, the need for open and competitive bidding in the allocation of oil blocks, oil theft, metering for accurate measurement of crude among others,” she explained.

She was quick to add that there is also the need to review all operating agreements and Memorandum of Understanding and take a proactive approach in determining fiscal regimes in the industry for the overall benefit of the country.

To ensure regularity of reports, Ahmed said NEITI is now implementing an automating project of its audit processes, saying, “the project had experienced some delays but is on course, when the automation project is completed, our audit exercise will become more cost efficient, timely, current, regular and more relevant for economic and development planning.”

According to Ahmed, the slump in the price of oil in the international market is an opportunity for Nigeria to explore the solid mineral sector.

Her words: “The scoping studies of the solid minerals conducted by NEITI made a revelation that there are abundant solid mineral resources in commercial quantity across all the States of the federation. These include: gold, diamond, gypsum, zinc, iron ore, limestones, columbite among several others.”

The immediate past Executive Secretary hinted that the 2013 oil and gas as well as solid minerals sectors audit reports are ready and awaiting the approval of NEITI board upon appointment.

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