The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has commended the steps taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation for greater efficiency.
In a statement by its Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in Abuja on Sunday, NEITI said the measures inspire hope and confidence in the future of the nation.
Orji said the measures were consistent with the findings and recommendations of NEITI in its various independent audit reports.
Orji said NEITI was delighted that the much-needed political will required to implement its recommendations had been summoned by Buhari.
He applauded the appointment of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, “a renowned oil industry expert with the needed global exposure, competence and integrity as Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC”.
The statement added: “It is our hope that new NNPC GMD and his new team will consider it a priority to carefully study the findings and recommendations outlined in NEITI independent reports of the sector.
“This is with a view to implementing the pending remedial issues under a plan already developed by NEITI and the Inter Ministerial Task Team.”
According to Orji, some of the recommendations in the plan included the addressing inadequate metering infrastructure for accurate measurement of crude and the onerous cash call regime.
He also said other issues that needed to be addressed included inefficient cost determination, pricing issues related to expired MoUs and legal agreements with oil companies.
Orji said areas that deserved urgent attention were huge costs of fuel subsidy, crude oil swap and products exchange agreements and repair of the refineries and oil theft, among others.
He said NEITI was ready and willing to provide further details on the recommendation if required.
Orji said NEITI was encouraged by the recent pronouncement of the NNPC GMD on remittances of all Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas dividends to the Federation Account as required by law.
“By implementation, a total of 11.6 billion dollars as paid by NLNG to NNPC but not remitted by the NNPC to the Federation account could be recovered into government coffers,” he said.
He said NEITI welcomed the Presidential directive on operation of a single treasury account system.
Orji said the single treasury account policy would help eliminate fraudulent practices created by multiple revenue accounts by government agencies.
He said NEITI identified with the Ad hoc Committee of the National Economic Council to investigate the inflows and outflows of funds from the Federation account by revenue generating government agencies.
Orji said the decision was consistent with NEITI’s principles on efficient fiscal allocation, disbursement and value for money through prudent utilisation of resources.
He said the agency also welcomed Buhari’s decision to set up a Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption led by Prof. Itsay Sagay.
The statement expressed optimism that the Sagay committee would provide NEITI and all the agencies under the Inter-Agency Task Team the opportunity to make presentations.
It said: “One important issue that NEITI will be bringing to the table if given opportunity is how the committee can assist the government to recover over $7 billion owed by oil companies.
“These disclosures are contained in NEITI audit reports as cases of under payments, under assessment’s arising from subjective interpretation of MoUs and tax laws.”
The statement also urged President Buhari to extend the reform to the mining and solid minerals sector in view of the enormous potentials in the sector.
`”One urgent step required now is to immediately check the activities of illegal miners many of whom are foreigners that have taken over the solid minerals sector without authorization,” it said.