Lagos — Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said the nation earned over $424 billion as revenue from the oil and gas sector in 13 years, as shown in its 2009 to 2011 audit report.
NEITI’s Outreach Team Leader, Obiageli Onuorah, who presented the report during an interactive session with journalist in Lagos on Wednesday, also said the country lost over $866 million to offshore processing of crude, and production exchange between 2009 and 2011.
According to Onourah, obsolete Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Joint Venture companies still in use since 2008 account for the loss of $1.7 billion by the country during the period under review.
Furthermore, she said, “Inadequate funding of Joint Ventures operations contributed to the decline in government crude oil productions, crude lifting and revenues accruable to the Federation. The sum of N3 trillion was paid to importers of refined petroleum products”.
She noted also that between 2009 and 2011, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited paid $4.84 billion to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but the fund has not been remitted to the Federation Account.
Onourah spoke on the remediation in NEITI’s implementation in the country and said the exercise was still afflicted by inability to exert the needed political will, resistance by regulatory bodies, poor human resources development and strategic action plan as well as the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Onuorah added that “only political will from the CSOs, the media and the general public to ask questions, follow up the questions on implementation on recommendations from the Inter-ministerial Task Team on (IMTT) made up of heads of relevant agencies and which should take responsibility for implementing remediation was docile due to lack of commitment that would minimise the level of loses in the industry”.
Also speaking, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, expressed concerns that nothing has really changed in the past 10 years of implementing the NEITI as far as tackling corruption in the extractive sector was concerned.
This is the same situation, he added, with regard to enhancing genuine institutional accountability and blockage of leakages that result in government’s loss of revenue and ultimately translate oil revenues into enhanced welfare.
Rafsanjani, who was represented by CISLAC’s Programme Coordinator, Kola Banwo, said: “We are concerned that so far the NEITI process has been reduced to the churning out of various forms of reports and that remediation action which entails the implementation of recommendations from the reports to correct the deficiencies identified has remained elusive.
“Indeed beyond the NEITI audit reports, there have been several other reports which have only served to confirm and reinforce the NEITI reports.”
He emphasied that remediation is the missing gap in the implementation of the NEITI in Nigeria which he said is the ultimate goal.
“Of what use are reports if all they do is reveal scandalous losses of monumental proportions, and how useful is it for Nigerians to know that over $7 million are unaccounted for?”
While calling on those concerned to treat the issue with greater urgency, Rafsanjani said the public needs to know who to hold accountable at every point in time.
The CISLAC boss added: “We are aware that these issues go beyond the NEITI as an institution. For instance, for a long time the inter-ministerial Task Team, IMTT, made up of heads of relevant agencies and which should take responsibility for implementing remediation was docile due to lack of commitment”.
He insisted that the recovery of less than 30 per cent of what has been uncovered so far is unsatisfactory, considering the cost incurred in conducting the NEITI audits and maintaining the secretariat.