FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHARGES OPERATORS IN THE SOLID MINERALS SECTOR TO COOPERATE WITH NEITI AUDIT PROCESS

The Federal Government of Nigeria has charged all companies and relevant agencies in the solid minerals sector to provide full cooperation to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) as the Agency begins another round of comprehensive industry audit of Solid Minerals Industry. The audit covers the period 2011.The call was made by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Mohammed Musa Sada, at a Templates Workshop on the Audit organized by NEITI in Abuja.

Underlying the Ministry’s continued support to NEITI’s independent audit exercise, Musa Sada told operators in the sector, that cooperating with NEITI audit process is a mandatory and legal obligation. ‘‘Failure to cooperate will amount to default of both the NEITI Act, 2007 and the Nigerian Mining Act, 2007 and may lead to revocation of mining licenses’’, the Minister warned.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed explained that the workshop was organized to acquaint government agencies and companies covered by the audit on the provisions in the templates designed for the audit exercise. It is also a forum to educate, enlighten and mobilise relevant agencies and companies on the scope of the audit,  how to respond to the data and information expected to be contained in the templates, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the audit and the requirements of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).She added that ‘‘Other objectives of the audit are to establish and make public revenue flows through investment among the major players in the solid minerals sector, report on the quantities of solid minerals mined, quarried, processed, exported and imported,  and track solid minerals sector funds collected by various Government Agencies into the Federation Account’’.

Mrs Ahmed outlined reconciliation of the payments made by major players (companies/entities) in the solid minerals sector in Nigeria with Government receipts of revenues during the period 2011 in the form of Royalty, Ground Rents/Annual Surface Rents, Taxation, Levies etc as areas covered by the exercise.

The first independent solid minerals industry audit was conducted by NEITI in 2011.The exercise covered the period 2007-2010.The findings of that audit exercise are available on the NEITI website, www.neiti.org.ng.

The present audit for the period 2011 is expected to build on the gains of that exercise and add to available information and data required by civil society and the citizens to hold both companies and government to account.About 78 Companies doing business in mining and solid minerals industry along with several relevant government agencies participated in the last audit exercise. The number is expected to increase in this present audit of the sector.

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