The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has applauded the expeditious action of the Senate on its audit reports of the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors presented to it at plenary Wednesday 15th June 2016.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio who expressed delight at the access granted to NEITI to make presentation on the findings and recommendations contained in its recent 2013 industry audit reports, also welcomed the decision of the Senate to set up an Adhoc Committee to further study the reports and advice it on the next steps.
Mr. Adio said that the move by the Senate has shown the determination and resolve of the 8th Assembly to use the NEITI Audit report findings to strengthen Nigeria’s extractive industries and ensure that the revenues from the sector are used for the benefit of the citizens.
He described the development as courageous and encouraging given the strategic role of the Legislature in using the information and data contained in the reports to hold companies and government accountable as well as for their oversight functions.
According to him, “the NEITI Audit reports have provided detailed information and data to the Law makers on the linkages between the implementation of the recommendation of the reports and the expectations of the citizens that revenues from natural resources should support national development and poverty reduction”. He expressed the hope that the special attention given to the NEITI reports by the Senate will be complimented with a similar action by the House of Representatives.
He re-affirmed NEITI’s readiness to work with the Adhoc Committee to ensure the success of its assignment.
Constituting the Committee, the President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki who presided over the session remarked that the issues thrown up by the NEITI reports cut across the work of several committees of the Senate included in the Adhoc committee. He urged the Committee to carefully study the report, identify the key issues involved and advice the Senate accordingly.
According to Dr. Bukola Saraki, “The terms of reference for the committee are to re-examine the financial processes and the fiscal audit report of the NEITI, the financial loss and leakages to government in all its ramifications. Others are remedial measures and sanctions where necessary, and of course and more importantly, any relevant legislative action that will be required to block all forms of leakages. As representatives of the people the Nigerian Senate under my leadership will use the NEITI reports presented to us to strengthen the governance of Nigeria’s extractive sector”.
He promised that the report of the Adhoc Committee will form the basis of the Senate’s further action on the reports. Dr Saraki commended the courage and professionalism so far displayed by NEITI in the discharge of its mandate.
The nine members Adhoc Committee have Senator Jibrin Barau who chairs the Committee on Petroleum Downstream as chairman. Other members of the Committee are Senators Omotayo Donald Alasoadura, Chukwuka Utazi, Bassey Akpan, John Enoh Owan, Andy Ubah, Solomon Adeola, Bukar Mustapha and Kabiru Marafa.
Some of the members chair committees relevant to the oil, gas and mining sectors while others serve in Committees directly related to the NEITI mandate. The Committee is expected to submit its report within four weeks.
The live debate of the NEITI reports at plenary Wednesday is the first since Nigeria signed up to the EITI in 2003. Stakeholders in the EITI process have welcomed this development with high expectations in view of the specific role of the legislature in the NEITI process.