…as Reps Pledge Support For Agency
By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Tuesday presented a budget proposal of N1.5billion for approval by the National Assembly.
The agency said the fund if released, would help fund its auditing of the oil and gas industry in 2020, just as it promised to release the 2017 audit report of the industry next week.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr. Waziri Adio made this known while defending the agency’s budget before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said since 1999 to 2016, nine audit reports have been done in the oil and gas sector, while seven audit reports, in the solid minerals, had been released.
The agency made the disclosure, as it proposed a total of N1.5 billion for its 2020 operations.
According to the agency, the proposed sum would cover for its activities and consumables, including sporting events, publicity, local training, foreign trips, drugs, and medicals, as well as monitoring and evaluation among others.
Breaking down the proposal before the committee, the Executive Secretary said that N828 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N337 million for overhead and N355 million for capital.
On the performance of the 2019 budget, Adio said that a total of N1.3 billion was appropriated for the agency, out of which a total of N789 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N277 million for overhead and a total of N267 million was for capital expenditure.
According to him, N557 million was released for personnel which represents 70.8 per cent, N138 million was released for overhead which represents 50 percent and nothing has been released for capital which represents 0 percent respectively.
He informed lawmakers that in 2018, the agency got overhead releases for seven, out of 12 months and in 2019 only six has been released out of ten months so far spent.
The NEITI boss, therefore, lamented that the poor release of overhead funds, hinders the agency’s performance.
He stressed that there is a global framework known as Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) which is implemented in 52 countries across the world including Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria began implementation in 2004 and by 2007, it was supported by the NIETI establishment Act which was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law.
He said the major reason, was to ensure transparency in the management of oil, gas, and mining for the development of Nigeria.
On remittances of revenues, the NEITI boss informed the committee that his agency is interested in how much extracting companies pay and how much is remitted to the Federal Government and make public the audit report.
The committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) had earlier pledged to support the agency in its bid to achieve the set objective of effectively policing the nation’s extractive industry.
The Deputy Chairman, Hon. Preye Oseke (APC-Bayelsa) said the committee will look into the presentation of the agency and act accordingly.
He said just like the National Assembly, NEITI was also an oil and gas transparency watchdog.
Oseke, said that the committee, would work with the agency and support it to achieve its objectives.