The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has signed the contract for the conduct of the Audit on Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursements. The signing of the contract marks the formal commencement of the Audit, expected to be concluded within a period of nine (9) months.
Explaining the objectives, the Executive Secretary Mrs Zainab Ahmed said the Audit will cover fiscal allocation and statutory disbursements of extractive industries revenue funds from the Federation account to the three tiers of government. Mrs Zainab stated that the Audit which is first of its kind by NEITI will in the meantime; cover only states that benefit from the 13% derivation as well as other agencies that directly receive allocations from the federation account. They include the oil producing states of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers. Others are Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Central Bank of Nigeria (Development of Natural Resources), Federal Government of Nigeria (Share of Derivation & Ecology), and Administration and Application of Excess Crude Oil Account.
Mrs Zainab also stated that the Audit would cover the period 2007-2011. “In line with the provision of Section 2 and 3 of the NEITI Act, the decision by NEITI to implement this part of the law is not only legal but imperative in view of the mutual suspicion and distrust that has existed among federal, states and local governments over who gets what, why and how.”
The Executive Secretary further explained that the audit will also provide baseline information required for planning and development, reduce friction and promote public trust through provision of timely and current information and data that would form the basis for revenue allocation, disbursements and application in Nigeria.
She reassured the Covered entities that the audit is not intended to ‘‘witch- hunt’’, but targeted at ensuring that the revenues from the sector to the recipients are prudently managed to address the developmental needs of Nigerians, and reduce poverty.
She urged the auditors to be courageous, independent and apply the highest level of integrity and professionalism in carrying out the assignment.‘‘We in NEITI expect the states, local governments and agencies involved to cooperate with the auditors as is required by law.’’
An indigenous professional Audit firm SIAO Partners was engaged, through an international competitive bid process, to conduct the audit. The Federal Executive Council presided over by President GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan had in November, 2012 approved the conduct of the Audit, and promised to give NEITI every support to carry out the project.