The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that the number of companies captured under its audit process is on the increase which ultimately will improve on governments revenue collection from the sector.
The NEITI observed though there are grounds to be covered, there is rise in participating firms in the last few years.
Speaking during the inauguration of ‘The Companies Forum’, acting executive secretary of the body Orji Ogbonnaya Orji disclosed that from its oil and gas industry audit, between 2006 and 2012, total companies’ payment stood at $293 billion.
Giving breakdown, Orji said $44.687 billion was paid in 2006 and $43.781 billion was received in 2007.
He said in 2008, a total of $60.364billion while $30.129 billion was collected in 2009.
Other includes $44.945 in 2010; $68.442billion in 2011 and $62.944billion in 2012.
Orji said that the trend analysis on companies that participated in the NEITI audit so far shows increasing acceptance of NEITI process and buy-in.
“For instance, the numbers of participating companies have increased from 21 companies during NEITI’s first oil and gas industry audit covering 1999-2004 to 42 companies during the 2012 audit cycle.
The same trend was observed in our solid minerals audit where the number of participating companies increased from 78 companies in the 2007-2010 audit cycle to 87 companies during the 2011 audit exercise” he stated.
However,he said that the number of participating companies dropped to 65 during the 2012 audit cycle.
According to him, This was as a result of the decision by NEITI to increase the materiality level for royalty payments from N1 million to N2 million.
“There are still some challenges regarding delay by some companies in responding to request on audit templates during data collection stage of the audit exercise.
This is why companies must fully embrace the on-going NEITI Audit Management System (NAMS).
NEITI strongly believes that when NAMS is fully deplored, particularly the aspect that has to do with machine to machine data sharing, the challenges relating to data collection would have been addressed” the secretary noted.
Speaking on the Companies Forum, Orji explained that the platform is meant for information sharing, conflict prevention, management and resolution.
“From our records a total of 42 companies in the oil and gas and 87 in the solid minerals industry are covered by the NEITI process and are therefore automatic members of the Companies’ Forum.
Let me assure you that NEITI will not allow any interference in your deliberations. We expect the Companies’ Forum to work closely with us to ensure full participation and timely responses to NEITI process especially during our usual audit process” he assured.
He however warned that all companies operating in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining industries are by law required to submit fully to the NEITI/EITI process.
“From the global trend on the issues of transparency, accountability in natural resources governance, it has become very difficult for extractive companies to resist compliance and participation in the EITI implementation.
The Initiative has become a veritable instrument for promoting good business environment, reversing resource cause syndrome, fight against terrorism and money laundering, illicit financial flows, among others” he said.
He commended the extractive companies for their cooperation, support and participation in the NEITI process over the years and to noted that NEITI values the mutual working relationship that have evolved over the years.
Orji further reaffirmed NEITI’s commitment to delivering on its national and international mandates of ensuring transparency, accountability and prudent application of revenues from the extractive industries for the overall benefit of Nigerians.