From Fred Itua, Abuja
TWO weeks after the Senate received the 2013 audit report of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Upper Legislative Chamber, yesterday, commenced probe into $3.8billion and N358.3 billion which stood as outstanding revenue from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries in 2013.
Announcing the setting up of a nine-man adhoc committee to probe the non-remitted revenues, after the Senate grilled the executive secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio for over two hours, Bukola Saraki said members selected will re-examine the financial processes and the fiscal audit report of NEITI.
He also mandated the committee to look into the financial loss and leakages of government in all its ramifications and come up with remedial measures and sanctions where necessary. “Of course, more importantly, any relevant legislative action that would be required to block all forms of leakages should be explored,” he saidd.
Members of the committee include Tayo Alasoadura, who is the chairman of Petroleum Upstream; Senator Bassey Akpan, who is the Chairman of Gas; Andy Uba, Chairman of Public Accounts; John Enoh, Chairman of Committee on Finance; Jibrin Barau, Chairman of Petroleum Downstream and Chukwuka Utazi, Chairman of Committee on Anti- Corruption.
Other members are Kabir Marafa, Solomon Adeola and Bukar Mustapha.
The committee will be chaired by Barau, with Uba as the vice chairman. The committee has four weeks to complete its assignment and report back to the Senate.
In his earlier remarks, while briefing the Senate, NEITI boss, Adio told lawmakers: “In 2013, the federation made N33.8 billion from the solid minerals sector. This was 37 per cent increase in what the country made in 2012, but there are some issues that also jumped out of this audit report. About 91 per cent of the total production for 2013 came from limestone, granite and laterite.
“About 5.8 per cent of the production for that year came from sand which means the only portion remaining is 3 per cent which was for gold and some other things. The revenue from cement company alone constituted 88 per cent of the payment for 2013. Another issue that came out from the solid minerals report is that the potential of that sector is not fully optimised by the country.
“In 2013, that sector contributed 0.13 per cent to our GDP as compared to the 5 per cent that (it) used to contribute in 1960s. Also, that sector contributed 0.09 per cent to total export for 2013. This could be seen as good and bad. The good part is that for the previous year, the contribution was 0.02 per cent.
“So, we made some progress, but despite the enormous capacity of that sector for jobs, for growth, for development and the fact that everywhere in this country had one mineral resources or the other we have not taken full advantage of it.”