In spite of acute under-funding of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative by the Federal Government, the body has been able to recover about $2 billion out of $9.8 billion revenue that ought to accrue to the Federation Account from oil and gas.
Ledum Mitee, NEITI’s chairman, disclosed this on Monday shortly after he led the board and management of NEITI to a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, Abuja.
Mitee again lamented that the country was losing huge revenue to oil theft, bunkering and massive corruption in the extractive sector, calling on the President to urgently raise an Inter-Ministerial Committee that will put in place necessary machinery for the recovery of the balance of $7.8 billion.
He said: “NEITI has recorded some significant achievements: the four cycles of audits, which have been conducted have revealed a potential revenue loss to the Federation Account of about $9.8 billion from under-assessments and under-payments of taxes, process manipulation and poor interpretation of agreements between government and companies.
“Through collaboration with relevant agencies working under the aegis of the inter-Ministerial Tasks Team, the sum of $2 billion has so far been actually recovered from additional assessments.
“We are of the view that the absence of reliable baseline information and data on the actual quantity of crude either lost through theft, bunkering or pipeline vandalisation remain a major challenge.
“NEITI wishes to call for urgent presidential intervention on the issue of proper metering regime, which has always been a recurring recommendation of our audits.”
The chairman said NEITI has been committed to the transformation agenda that according to him “centers on due process in the extractive sector that ultimately impacts other sectors of the economy, limiting waste, reduction of corruption and increasing government’s revenue.”
He noted that through the work of NEITI, the citizens now have access to credible information.
The effort, he noted further, recently yielded positive fruit as Nigeria was adjudged the best EITI implementing country in the world by the global body, Extractive Industries Transparency International.
On the issue of under-funding of the body, Mitee appealed for increased funding so as to be able to discharge its duties efficiently.
His words: “Our main challenge remains that of acute under-funding.
“Over the years, NEITI’s budgetary provisions have continued to dwindle whilst its activities remain on steady expansion and the situation has worsened to the extent that it now threatens the agency’s continued performance of its core functions.”