• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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NEITI to release 2014, 2015 audit reports by year end

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency initiative (NEITI), in reiteration of its commitment to redress account anomalies inherent in Africa’s second largest crude producer, disclosed that it would throw its 2014 and 2015 audit reports in public domain at the tail end of the year.
NEITI avails Nigeria’s 180 million people the opportunity to hold government accountable, through its yearly audit reports in the oil and gas and solid minerals sector.
Their last audit report was for 2013; this constitutes a big concern for Waziri Adio, the agency’s executive secretary, who rues the delay in subsequent report publications.
In NEITI’s visit to BusinessDay on Wednesday, Adio divulged on-going plans to release 2014 and 2015 audit reports at the end of the year.
“By the end of this year, we would release the audit reports of 2014 and 2015, so yes we are concerned about delayed reports,” Adio said in response to questions.
“However, late reports do not necessarily detract anything from their relevance. This is because you need to look at the past and learn from mistakes in order to avoid repeating them in the future.”
Inaugurated in February 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the agency has conducted six audits in the oil and gas sector and four in solid minerals sector.
Despite the success attained in triggering reforms through their reports, amid other factors, NEITI is mulling expansion plans; so as to strengthen its capacity and to ensure publications gain more traction.
“We are looking beyond the civil society steering committee (CSSC), and engaging more advocacy groups and media platforms, to publicise our reports and ensure we reach a wider spectrum of Nigerians,” Adio said.
CSSC partners with NEITI on outreach activities, in the campaign for revenue transparency by deepening citizens’ awareness and holding companies and governments accountable.
The agency has conducted six audits in the oil and gas sector and four in solid minerals sector so far, and is fast gaining traction in its advocacy, sensitisation, whistle-blowing, oversight and agenda setting roles.
The new board, which ushered in Adio, a one-time Special Adviser, Research and Strategy in the office of the Senate President from August 2003 to October 2004, was constituted in February 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, and has hit the ground running since its arrival, BusinessDay findings show.
Adio says the 73 year-old President’s commitment to fight corruption has weighed positively on the agency’s activities.
“The character and philosophy of an incumbent government is significant. You will agree that the man at the helm of affairs complements us,” said Adio in response to questions.
Nigeria is hard pressed currently, owing to crude price and output dip. Policy makers are aggressively seeking to diversify the economy away from oil to cushion the effect of sliding revenues.
Agriculture and solid minerals have caught the fancy of government, and NEITI is bent on ensuring the incongruities in the oil sector are eliminated in the solid minerals sector.
“We are focusing on the solid mineral sector because the country is in the process of diversification especially in the extractive space, we need to ensure that if there is a boom in the sector tomorrow, the mistakes that we made with oil and gas are not repeated,” said Adio.
In the 1960’s, solid minerals sector used to contribute about 5 percent to our GDP, but now it is below 1 percent.
The Federal government has disclosed that it plans to embark on massive exploration of solid minerals to achieve a target of five per cent contribution of the sector to national Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) within the next five years.
As government revenue sinks, NEITI says it is doing more to drive down costs, doing more with less.
“We are also going to leverage relationships and other resources. Taking advantage of these relationships will be crucial amid financial constraints,” he said.