Federal Government has pledged its readiness to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the audit reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and recover oil revenue loss put at N1.5trillion ($7.4billion).
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, stated this yesterday when he received the Chairman of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative EITI, Clare Short and her delegation at the Defence House, Abuja.
He explained that the Federal Government’s commitment to the implementation of the EITI principles was part of plans to reform the oil and gas sector.
The NEITI audit reports had revealed that from 1999 to 2011, Nigeria incurred a total revenue loss of $9.8billion. The loss was attributed to underpayments, underassessment of taxes, rents, royalties and other process lapses. However, out of the $9.8billion, NEITI, working with other agencies, has recovered $2.4billion.
The breakdown of the recoveries shows that $1billion was recovered from 1999 to 2004 Audit Reports, $550million was recovered from the NEITI Audit Reports of 2005, and the 2006 to 2008 Audit Report led to a recovery of $447million while NEITI Reports of 2009 to 2011 made possible a recovery of $416 million.
At the occasion, NEITI Executive Secretary, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will provide the necessary political will to enable NEITI recover the outstanding $7.4billion into government coffers.
Short advised the government to consider a major shakeup in the oil and gas industry if the benefits from Nigeria’s abundant resources are to be felt by all Nigerians.
“The NEITI Reports have all the information and data that will guide the government to reform the industry. It is also important that the government integrates the NEITI into its overall economic policy team.”
Chairman of NEITI, Mr. Ledum Mitee, appealed to the government to overhaul the Inter Ministerial Task Team IMTT setup to implement NEITI reports, arguing that the Team has recorded very little progress. Also, Mrs Ahmed urged the government to take urgent steps to divest Nigeria’s interest in the joint ventures operations to free the Country from huge burdens imposed by Joint Venture obligations.
Nigeria joined the global EITI in 2003 and began implementation in 2004 and supported same with a law in 2007.