NEITI Reveals $3Bn Underpayment Recovered In Extractive Sector From 1999-2019

Chinyere Ogbo

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive International Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, on Thursday disclosed recovery of about $3 billion from underpayments from companies in the extractive sector from 1999 to 2019.

Orji, made the disclosure Thursday in Abuja during the inaugural meeting of the Communications and Civil Society Committee and presentation of the 2019 Oil, Gas and Mining reports.

He restated NEITI’s determination to ensure Nigeria’s resources works for Nigerians.

According to him, the Agency is building partnerships with relevant government agencies to ensure efficiency in the transparency sector, adding, “Ours is to ensure effective remittance of government’s fund, that’s why we are in partnership with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and others to deepen our operations.”

“I must therefore acknowledge and commend all of you for being the agency’s vanguard and partners since our country signed up to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative about two decades ago.” Orji told the civil society organizations.

He said the creation of the committee by the NEITI board was based on its conviction that the civil society and media are integral part of the process.

Orji stressed that such roles are visible in dissemination of NEITI reports and advocacy on the findings and recommendations of the reports and other policy products.

Orji,  revealed that the agency would soon commence the monitoring of oil bunkering and illegal mining activities in the country to determine how much revenue is being lost to the criminal ventures.

He said NEITI has “established a platform and a framework to expand our monitoring system to illegal mining activities and illegal oil bunkering activities across the country as part of our mandate”.

He also disclosed that the 2020 Industry Reports were at the final stage and would be released soon.

He explained that the Civil Society Steering Committee whose membership is drawn from CSOs, trade unions, media and academia was an advisory committee of the NEITI board.

Speaking on the importance of the CSSC to the work of NEITI, Orji said: “As a matter of fact, the civil society and media remains the most dependable allies to NEITI in the discharge of its statutory mandates. I must therefore acknowledge and commend all of you for being the agency’s vanguards and partners since our country signed up to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) about two decades ago.

“I hereby urge you to consider your selection into the Committee as a call to service and opportunity to contribute your own quota to the development of our country, transform its oil, gas and mining sectors to generate the much needed revenues which government needs at this time to meet the social and infrastructural needs of the citizens”.

Chairman of NEITI’s Civil Society Steering Committee, Mr. Peter Egbule urged CSOs working in the oil and gas space to be vigilant as the government continues with the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

He said it was the duty of the CSO to ensure that the provisions of the law were followed to ensure that the industry was managed in a way that works for every Nigerian.

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