The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has identified the development of a five year strategic plan and automation of the audit process as its major priorities after attaining compliance status in the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed further noted that expanding NEITI’s influence to States and Local Government through revenue application and fiscal allocation audit and value for money audits were other important areas of focus.
Mrs. Ahmed was speaking while presenting a comprehensive programme of action to the Donor community in Nigeria at a meeting anchored by the World Bank on behalf of NEITI in Abuja.
The Executive Secretary explained that NEITI is fully committed to mobilizing new resources to ensure that remediation issues from audit findings are fully implemented through well coordinated national and regional outreach programmes, sustained engagements with Companies, Civil Society Organisations and Governments at all levels.
She explained further that NEITI was ‘...already working very closely with the Inter-Ministerial Task Team made up of all relevant agencies involved in the NEITI processes. We shall also reach out to the legislature to ensure that audit reports connect with the desire of the people to ask informed questions on extractive revenue flows. Our challenge is to make the audits regular, easy to read, comprehend and interpret so that the public can use it’.
Mrs Ahmed appealed to international agencies interested in supporting NEITI to channel their support to these critical areas to entrench extractive revenue transparency in Nigeria.
The Chairman of NEITI, Professor Assisi Asobie assured international agencies at the meeting that the Board of NEITI had taken every reasonable step to reposition the organization with competent, skilled, professional and diligent staff. Professor Asobie noted that with equipped Secretariat and work plan, NEITI was now in a position to meet its obligations and urged the Donors to help close the huge funding gaps in NEITI programmes. The NEITI chair reaffirmed the commitment of the Board to provide good policy direction, regular monitoring and oversight for NEITI programmes to ensure realization of set goals.
The Country Director of the World Bank, Onno Ruhl who chaired the meeting disclosed that the World Bank decided to convene the meeting on behalf of NEITI because the Bank was convinced that NEITI has been strengthened to implement its mandate. He called on Donors to carefully study NEITI’s work plan and identify areas of interest for necessary support.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Embassies and High Commissions as well as major development partners including DFID and USAID.