EITI BACKS BUHARI ON EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY REFORMS

The Chair of the global EITI Clare Short has expressed the support of the world body to the on-going reforms of the oil gas and mining sector in Nigeria as recommended by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

In a message to the inauguration of NEITI-Companies’ Forum in Lagos, Clare Short, the EITI Chair stated: “The international community watches with admiration how NEITI has over the past 11 years fed comprehensive and reliable information into the Nigeria public on management of its oil, gas and solid minerals sector… The key test is whether the new administration will deliver on its number four priority to implement the findings of these NEITI reports. When I met Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria, in August when I visited Abuja, I was left in no doubt about his commitment to use the NEITI reports for reforms”. She said EITI is delighted that NEITI Reports is helping the Reforms.

Clare Short used the opportunity to congratulate President Buhari for the appointment of the former Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs Zainab Ahmed as the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning in his cabinet. “We congratulate Zainab and are proud of her. We must all learn from the work NEITI has done. Corruption and mismanagement remains commonplace in too many EITI countries. In Nigeria as elsewhere, the EITI is not the whole answer to these challenges, but it is part of the solution”.

In a presentation to the Companies’ Forum shortly before its inauguration in Lagos, the Acting Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji explained that NEITI independent Reports in the oil and gas sector between 2006 and 2012 disclosed that a total of $293 Billion was paid by oil companies as taxes, royalty, dividends etc to government. From the NEITI independent reports a breakdown of the payments shows that $ 44.7 billion was paid in 2006, $ 43.7 billion paid in 2007, $60.4billion in 2008 and $30billion in 2009. In 2010, the companies paid $44.9 billion, $68.4 billion in 2011 and $62.9 billion was paid to government in 2012. Full details of the reports by NEITI, is available on the NEITI website.

Dr. Orji informed the Companies Forum in Lagos that the payments were made by a combination of 42 oil companies covered by the NEITI Audit process during this period.

He explained that the era when tax and royalty payments made by companies was a secret at the disposal of the exclusive few was over. Nigeria’s membership of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has enthroned a regime of openness and voluntary public disclosure in the industry.

The Acting Executive Secretary stated that the work of NEITI is to place vital information and crucial facts at the public domain. The information is required by the citizens through the civil society, the government and the companies to promote dialogue, constructive debates that would lead to reforms and prudent resource management for the benefit of all citizens.

Dr Orji explained that NEITI decided to establish a special forum for companies in the extractive industry to provide a platform for effective exchange of information and productive engagement in the implementation of EITI in Nigeria. He said that full participation and support of companies in the on-going reforms of the extractive industries by the present administration will help to promote good business environment, enhance opportunity for profit and inflow of investments into the sector.

The Chairman of the Oil Producing Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce represented by Mr Toba Akinmoladun welcomed NEITI’s initiative to establish the NEITI’s Companies’ Forum and pledged the support of the oil majors.

The President of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sani Shehu used the forum to call on the federal government and investors that the time to shift attention to the solid mineral sector has arrived following the crash of the oil prices.

The Forum was attended by representatives of the civil society and development partners.

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