The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it has assisted the Federal Government to recover over $3 billion from oil and gas companies operating in the country, according to its executive secretary, Waziri Adio.
Speaking at the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative at its meeting in Berlin, Germany, Adio also said recoverable revenues in excess of $20 billion in the sector had been disclosed by NEITI reports over the years.
He said the recoverable revenues were from process lapses leading to under-assessment or underpayment of taxes, royalties, signatures bonuses, etc.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, NEITI’s Director of Communications and Advocacy, quoted Adio as saying that through regular publication of credible and accessible critical data, NEITI had succeeded in opening up the previously opaque sector to public scrutiny, thus increasing citizens’ demands for reforms.
Adio said Nigeria wanted EITI to shift its current priorities to the pursuit of visible impact in the implementation of the initiative in member countries.
According to him, the current focus by EITI on member countries to attain satisfactory progress in the implementation of its standard is not enough if the efforts do not translate to visible impact in areas of poverty reduction and improved standard of living of the citizens.
In his presentation to the EITI Board, entitled ‘EITI Impact and Outlook in Nigeria’, Adio conveyed Nigeria’s concerns that little or no attention was given to context and diversity of implementing countries, especially those of developing nations.
“Out of seven categories in the EITI validation requirements, only one is focused on impact and outcome, while out of EITI’s 33 requirements, only four are on impact and outcome,” he stated.
He identified key areas where Nigeria had made positive impact in the implementation of EITI to include improvement in revenue recovery and generation of credible data for advancement of citizens’ engagement and debate required to push reforms in the extractive industry.
The NEITI helmsman welcomed the EITI validation process designed to hold all implementing countries to the same standard, but noted that such an important exercise should recognise and encourage the impact recorded by member countries.
The 20-member EITI Board is drawn from all parts of the world, and it develops and shapes the policy direction of the organisation that guides its 51 member countries.