By Tajudeen Suleiman
The Minister of Solid Minerals and Chairman of the Board of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Kayode Fayemi, has called on members of the National Assembly to study NEITI reports on solid minerals, oil and gas sectors for effective legislation for the extractive industry.
The minister spoke at the public presentation of the 2013 Solid Minerals, Oil and Gas Audit Reports of NEITI in Abuja on Monday. The two volume report details total revenue projections for the extractive sectors in 2013 and the actual accruals to the Federation Account.
“Now that these reports are out, I will like to call on the legislature to take keen interest in the audit findings in designing legislations for the extractive sector and in carrying out their oversight functions,” the minister stated.
He also called on the media and the civil society to carefully study the reports and use the information and data from them to “trigger evidence-led and informed debates, strengthen the demand for holistic reforms, and hold government and companies to account.”
He said similar data provided on the extractive sectors by NEITI over the years have failed to bring the appropriate reforms to the sector because “accountability actors”, especially the citizens and civil society groups, have failed to use the critical evidence to hold government to account.
“Merely publishing information about the extractive sector will not do the trick. Critical actors, especially citizens and civic groups, have to do their parts.”
In the highlights of the reports given by the minister, the NNPC was again indicted for withholding government revenue and for short-changing the government in Offshore Processing Arrangements, OPA, and the crude for product swap arrangements, SWAP.
For instance, the sum of $12.9 billion NLNG payments received by NNPC between 2005 and 2013 was not remitted into the Federation Account while loss through OPA and SWAP came to $211.8 million and $306 million respectively.
Forty one oil and gas producing companies and 16 government agencies participated in the 2013 audit while payments made by only 65 entities out of 619 entities were reconciled by the audit in the solid minerals sector.