The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Monday faulted the absence of reliable data on the quantity of crude oil being lost to theft, bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the country.
The Chairman, National Stakeholders’ Working Group, NEITI, Mr. Ledum Mitee, made the organisation’s position known to President Goodluck Jonathan when he led members of the board and management to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mitee sought the President’s intervention in the area of putting in place proper metering regime for the oil industry.
He said, “One of the major problems in the industry is the issue of oil theft; NEITI is concerned about this ugly trend in our oil and gas sector in view of its huge negative economic implications and massive revenue losses to the country.
“We are of the view that the absence of reliable baseline information and data on the actual quantity of crude either lost through theft, bunkering or pipeline vandalism remains a major challenge.
“Whilst our reports will always try to capture this, NEITI wishes to call for urgent presidential intervention on the issue of proper metering regime, which has always been a recurring recommendation of our audits.”
Mitee said for the first time, a scoping study of the solid minerals sector, which provided baseline information on the industry, was conducted by NEITI.
The study, he added, was followed by the first comprehensive audit of the solid minerals sector covering 2007 to 2010.
He said the purpose of the exercise was to draw attention to process, physical and governance issues required to opening up of the sector for investment opportunities.
Mitee, however, identified acute under-funding as the major challenge facing the organisation, saying that NEITI’s budgetary provisions had continued to dwindle, while its activities had witnessed steady expansion.
He said the situation had worsened to the extent that it was now threatening the continued performance of its core functions.
“We are not just out to find faults, we are there to help government to even raise revenue and identify gaps so that they can be remedied and that should be seen within the larger framework of the reforms we all pray for.
“Out of the 39 countries that are implementing EITI, Nigeria’s mode of implementation has been rated the best.”
Jonathan, in his remarks, pledged that the Federal Government would re-examine the law setting up NEITI in order to strengthen it.
He said the issues of funding and gaps in synergy between NEITI and certain major government bodies would soon be addressed with the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team, which would also see to the proper integration of NEITI into the economic agenda of government.
Jonathan lauded the body for bringing international honour to the country when Nigeria was adjudged the best EITI implementing country in the world and given an award at the global EITI conference in Sydney, Australia.