By Omeiza Ajayi
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has expressed optimism that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, before the National Assembly, would open up the petroleum sector for greater investments and guarantee more transparency in operations when passed into law.
The minister stated this when the Board of Trustees of Corruption Reporters led by Dr Yunusa Tanko honoured him as the Champion of the Anti-Corruption fight, particularly for his leadership in promoting transparency in the industry.
The minister said; “The Petroleum Industry Bill which as you know has been laid in both chambers and we are hoping that the law will be passed; that, of course will allow us to entrench the principles of transparency in our industry and will allow this industry to move from where it is, also like the country, to where we desire it to be”.
Sylva also explained how the Treasury Single Account TSA has eliminated sharp practices in the industry.
According to him, corruption in Nigeria takes place at three levels; at the point of revenue collection, the treasury and contract execution, adding that with the introduction of the TSA, the practice has been significantly curtailed at the revenue collection and treasury levels but still thriving at the level of contract execution, noting that eliminating it requires the vigilance of Nigerians through whistle blowing.
He said; “I am particularly honoured by this award. I commend the Corruption Reporters for checking the records from afar and encouraging me in the fight against corruption.
“I received a boost from President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership through initiative such as the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
“That policy has arrested corruption impeding direct flow of resources to the nation’s coffers. For instance, before the coming of the present administration, you will see a small organization with over 90 accounts opened for the deposit of revenues.
“This administration has been able to control corruption at that level with the introduction of the TSA, where all government revenues by ministries, departments and agencies are paid into just one account.
“Today, no more can government money be swallowed by any snake. Today, if money is earned, it is paid directly into government accounts through the TSA.
“Those entrusted with the management of the money, like permanent secretaries of ministries and other civil servants who award contracts, cannot have access to those money as was the case in the past.
“I emphasize that his (President Buhari) leadership would ensure that petroleum industry continue to adopt best practices for the advantage of the populace”, he added.
Speaking separately on behalf of the team, Mrs Adaora Onyechere, Dr Yunusa Tanko and Majeed Dahiru submitted that Chief Sylva has justified the confidence reposed in him by President Muhammadu Buhari in leading the Petroleum Industry to fight corruption, institute transparency and accountability.
They specifically noted that initiatives by the Ministry and its Agencies such as the publication of the NNPC audit reports for the first time in forty three years, the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project and the signing of Final Investment Decision for NLNG Train 7 among others have demonstrated that the Minister is committed to the growth of the industry.
Vanguard News Nigeria