By Michael Eboh
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, yesterday, accused Federal Government’s agencies in the mining and oil and gas industries of frustrating national planning, natural resource governance and public finance management.
In a statement in Abuja, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, expressed concerns over poor sectoral linkages among the agencies in data generation, collation, management and dissemination on revenues generated or expended from oil, gas and mining sector.
Adio stated this while receiving the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine on a courtesy visit to NEITI.
According to him, poor linkages among relevant agencies had been major constraints in national planning, natural resource governance and public finance management.
He explained that it was not just enough for agencies in both the mining and petroleum industries to claim to be transparent, noting that it was about being comprehensively transparent to ensure that the information churned out was understood.
He said, “Our doors are quite open; NEITI is ready and willing to work with sister agencies on information and data sharing, capacity and manpower development.
“We are also ready to collaborate and partner with the Office of the Auditor General in particular and other similar agencies in general to promote data integrity, openness, standards and uniformity in data collation, validation management and utilization.
“Anything that will bring about transparency in the management of revenues we will give you all the support”.
“We are working for the same purpose, we have to leverage on the strengths of the different agencies. We have done this for fifteen years and we have the information that will guide you in the extractive industry.”
Adio pledged to work closely with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to promote integrity in data collation, validation and management on revenues from extractive industries.
In his response, the Auditor General of the Federation, Ayine alled for closer cooperation in data management and knowledge sharing towards efficient implementation of a World Bank funded programme on fiscal governance.
He outlined the importance of the donor funded project to building the capacity of selected pilot key government institutions on extractive revenue management.
He noted that “The World Bank funded programme is to address fiscal management issues which will help to strengthen accountability process of the nation’s economy.
He added that about five Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA, of government are participating which include Auditor General’s Office, Ministry of Budget and Planning, National Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Public Procurement amongst others.
He noted that “It is essential that the integrity of our national statistics is enhanced.”
Ayine described NEITI as an institution of integrity, excellence on data generation, management and dissemination in the extractive industries.
He explained that working closely with NEITI would support the desire of his Office for establishment of a structure among key government agencies on data uniformity, transparency and accountability in extractive revenue reporting.
“it is very important and necessary that within us as institutions of the Federal Government that we create a structure whereby we collaborate and do our internal reconciliation of these figures for the integrity of our national data statistics,” Ayine stated.
He pledged to ensure that the Office of the Auditor General takes up its assigned statutory responsibilities in the NEITI –EITI process as provided by the law.