Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that its reports and assessments of the oil and gas sector has led to recovery of $3 billion hitherto not remitted to government’s coffers so far.
It also noted that the NEITI reports have helped the country to identify about $20 billion in recoverable revenues.
The agency, in a statement, reckoned that Nigeria faces a range of developmental challenges, including the need to reduce economic dependence on oil, rebuild social infrastructure and develop strong and effective institutions with robust public financial management systems.
“Nonetheless, the country has made many improvements in the governance of its oil sector, bringing greater transparency and publishing credible and trusted data. “Previously, the industry was opaque, with little reliable public information on production levels, crude oil losses, government investment in the upstream projects or downstream information.
“The EITI in Nigeria encountered some initial hurdles in publishing accurate and timely reports on key sector data, such as production, revenues and governance processes. Some reports were delayed by several years, meaning that those who could hold the state accountable for oil revenues – such as investors, companies, civil society organisations and the media – received data only several years after the reporting period.
“With the help of the World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support Trust Fund, NEITI has now succeeded in producing its reports in a much more timely and efficient manner”, it said.
NEITI also highlighted the failure of the Federal Government to adjust the royalty in production-sharing contracts in line with the price of oil and inflation, as provided in the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act. The brief contributed to an amendment to the law, which was then enacted eight months later.
“A range of stakeholders, across the legislature, presidency and national oil company, have embraced the spirit of transparency and reform inherent in the EITI process, sparking a wider change in the country and driving forward oil sector governance and policy reform”, it noted.