*As oil & gas audit agency begs reps for improved funding in 2021 budget

By Tordue Salem, Abuja

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, on Tuesday, revealed that the oil sector audit agency, has only 49 staff nationwide, does not have an office of its own and is inadequately funded for its operations.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, made the disclosure at an interactive session with the Rep. Cornelius Nnaji-led House Committee on Freedom of Information- Reform of Public Institutions

Mr. Adio, spilt the beans while fielding questions from the Committee on the agency’s level of compliance to the FOI Act, during an interactive session.

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The agency decried the inadequacy of its workforce, lack of befitting office apartment and poor funding for its audit and other expenses.

“the agency has only 49 staff nationwide; we would like to employ more, but the funding of the agency is poor and the Federal Government has placed an embargo on employment, so we can’t for now”, Adio said.

The ES, also revealed to the Committee, that the building occupied by the agency, was “rented”.

The ES, also “sought an increase of NEITI’s 2021 budget to accommodate some critical projects necessary towards the realization of its mandate.

Rep. Nnaji, earlier in his remarks on behalf of the Committee, pledged that the committee would intervene to improve the budget of NEITI 2021, also rated the agency high, in terms of accountability and transparency in its oversight of the oil and gas sector.

He, however, advised the agency to be more detailed in its responses to public queries on operations in the extractive Industry.

NEITI came into existence in 2004 and was established by an Act of the National Assembly, in 2007.

The agency, according to the Act, is “charged with the development of a framework for transparency and accountability in the reporting and disclosure by all extractive industry companies of revenue, due to or paid to the Federal government”.

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