by crosssriverwatch admin
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI , is not a witch hunting instrument or a self seeking exercise but a voluntary process through which verifiable data is validated and published for use by policy makers and the public towards improving the country’s macroeconomics environment and strengthening public expenditure management and implementing institutional governance reforms.
Mr. Ledum Mitee, the Chairman of the Board of NEITI made the disclosure in Calabar on Tuesday while giving a keynote address in a workshop on Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement.
He stressed that NEITI conducts regular independent validation exercises and audits of both company payments and government receipts and subsequently places such information in public domain in order to make room for transparency in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
He said “The overall goal hinges on the overriding principle that placing such data and credible information contained in the audit reports on extractive revenues at the public domain would help citizens hold government and companies accountable thereby leading to poverty reduction, sustainable development, social harmony and better investment”.
The NEITI board chairman said that since inception in 2003, the agency has conducted four cycles of audit exercises in the oil and gas sector covering the period 1999-2003 and a similar audit in solid minerals sector covering the period 2009 -2010.
He added that the agency has been “Encouraged by the findings and revelations of these exercises, and their impact so far in influencing the ongoing public sector reforms in the oil and gas sector”.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Secretary of NEITI said the agency was set up to enthrone transparency, accountability, and good governance in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors.
She said the agency’s primary objective is “to ensure that revenues from oil and gas and mining sectors support national development and poverty reduction”.
Adding that the initiative is being implemented in thirty nine resource rich countries around the world with the simple objective of checking what she terms “resource curse syndrome” plaguing nations with enormous oil and gas reserve whose wealth have become a curse rather than a blessing to their people.
She defined the resource curse syndrome as “a situation where countries like Nigeria, blessed with enormous natural resources have majority of their citizens wallowing in abject poverty”.
She emphasized that the templates workshop is to spread the message of NEITI to all the States of the Federation and called on all stakeholders to give the agency the necessary support to carry out its obligations.
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