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NEITI Claims Financial Report Led to Recovery of $3 Billion in Oil Sector

THE Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative ( NEITI) told the Senate that its work and report had led to the recovery of over $3bn from oil and gas companies into government coffers, just as it has helped identify over N6.5trillion recoverable revenues from oil and gas companies.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senator Danjuma La’ah, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kaduna South led Senate
Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs for the defence of 2022 Budget Proposals, the Executive Secretary,/ CEO of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji who called for increased funding in the 2022 budget, said that the agency has also mobilised resources for government, thereby increasing revenues to the federation account.

He said, “We don’t generate revenue, we wish to. We generate revenue but we don’t keep. Our job leads to revenue generation but we don’t keep any of the money. Our job is to ensure prudent use of our natural resource revenues from oil, gas and mining, environment, fishery and forestry and to be able to draw national and international attention to the importance of public resources that is revenues that accrue from oil and mining.

“If you support us, NEITI will be able help reform the oil and gas industry. We have published 163 audit independent report since we came into being. We have 24 extractive industries reports that contain very graphic information and data on who has done what in the industry.

“The recovery is over the period. From NEITI report over 3 billion dollars had been recovered by various agencies through NEITI report, NEITI doesn’t recover money. When we publish our recovery through information where there are under payments, under payments between companies and what government receives.”

Orji who disclosed that the Agency was putting in place, plans to conduct an impact assessment on extractive industry reforms from 2015-2021 and other research studies, said that they are expanding their audit automation project as well as establishing the first phase of their integrated Data Center, adding that the Petroleum Industry Act ( PIA) was one of the gains of reports of the agency between 1999 and 2004.

According to him, the idea of a bill to govern and regulate the oil and gas sector in curbing the wastages and corruption endemic in the sector came about from NEITI reports to that effect between 1999 and 2004.

He explained that the reports exposed Nigeria being one of the few countries of the world rich in both oil and gas resources, but without required revenues from them and invariably foreign and local investments for the needed sustainable development.

Orji said, ” It is gratifying today that the idea mooted through NEITI report for required laws to govern the oil and gas sector has come to fruition through the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act ( PIA) after many years of consideration as a bill from the sixth to the present National Assembly.”

The NEITI boss was however taken up by members of the committee on non – recruitment of workers into the agency since 2010.

Specifically, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Danjuma La’ah queried the NEITI boss why the agency had not carried out recruitments of workers over the years despite having on 56 staff.

Orji who explained that a request for such exercise has been made to the appropriate authority but required approval has not been given, said, ” We have made a request for recruitment exercise but approval has not been given yet. The approval we got is only on replacement of retired or dead staff.”

The Committee Chairman and members such as Senator Haliru Dauda Jika ( APC Bauchi Central ) , Hezekiah Dimka ( Plateau Central), others said replacement cannot in any way, help to solve the problem of unemployment bedevilling the youths of the country.

La’ah said, ” Most of the crimes being committed in the country are caused by the idleness of the youths. Your agency with small workforce must be ready to get some of the graduate youths roaming the streets off the streets by employing them.”

The Committee however told the agency that it will get back to it after studying the budget documents submitted.

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