By Obas Esiedesa
THE Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji has urged the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Idris Ahmed to resuscitate the Inter-Ministerial Task Team set up by the Federal Government to address remedial issues raised by NEITI’s audit of the oil and gas sector.
Dr. Orji made the call on Tuesday when the Accountant General of the Federation visited NEITI’s office in Abuja
He had in March revealed that statutory recoverable revenues amounting to N69.51 billion and $5.31 billion were still outstanding from oil and gas companies.
Speaking during the visit, he disclosed that the IMTT chaired by the Accountant General of the Federation has not been active in the past five years.
He explained that the IMTT was established by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, to ensure that issues raised by the oil and gas, and solid minerals audit reports are quickly addressed by government agencies involved.
According to him, “The visit by the AGF is most encouraging to us in view of what we plan to do going forward. We want to work with all the agencies that either take custody of government funds, warehouse or manage them because majority of these funds come from the extractive industry.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is the nation’s treasury house and the Accountant General of the Federation has enormous responsibility in that regard”, he added.
Dr. Orji noted that the inter agency task team “to us means everything. We regret that in the last five years it hasn’t been very active but with the AGF working with us that committee will come back to life.
“That team was put in place by the government to ensure inter-agency discussions and dialogue on these issues with a view of resolving those issues that we have raised”.
Earlier, he insisted that Nigeria does not have accurate measurement of the crude oil produced in the country despite the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, stating otherwise.
He however assured the Accountant General of the Federation that NEITI would work with DPR to adopt adequate technology to meter oil wellheads.
He also called for a common approach to cost measurement in the oil and gas sector to ensure that government was not shortchanged by operators in payment of taxes and levies.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Ahmed assured NEITI of the OAGF support for their work of looking into revenue that government should receive from the extractive industries and ensuring that the monies were paid.
He noted that the OAGF has a lot in common with NEITI in ensuring also that corruption in the system is checked.
He assured that the IMTT would be resuscitated, saying very soon “the result will begin to come”.
The IMTT comprises of the OAGF, NNPC, DPR, Mining Cadastre Office, Auditor General of the Federation, FIRS, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Revenue Monilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
Others are Central Bank of Nigeria, Niger Delta Development Commission, Nigerian Miners Association, Ministry of Finance, Oil Producers Traders Section, Corporate Affairs Commission and NEITI.