The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Monday affirmed its stance on the authenticity of its recent audit report on the activities in the country’s oil and gas industry.
NEITI in response to the condemnation of the report, particularly by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), stated that all the companies and government agencies covered by the independent audit including PPPRA were fully involved and participated actively in the audit process from conception and design of the audit templates, through to the population of the templates with information and data to the stage of data and information, reconciliation and validation exercise.
A statement from NEITI’s Director of Communication, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in Abuja, explained that the process also afforded all the companies and agencies including the PPPRA an opportunity to “signed off” the report before it was published and available for Nigerians to see.
The PPPRA had on Sunday, picked holes with the audit report of NEITI which asked it to refund monies claimed in the report as “over-recovery” from petrol subsidy. PPPRA said the report was filled with inaccuracies that could mislead Nigerians.
But, Orji noted that the response by PPPRA was strange, misplaced and unfortunate, adding: “We do not understand what PPPRA means by ‘secondary data.’ We doubt if the Executive Secretary of PPPRA received adequate briefing from his team who worked directly with NEITI on the project.”
He further said: “I, therefore, think that the time has come for an important agency like the PPPRA to develop time and interest to ensure that its management understand how NEITI/EITI process works.
“The NEITI Secretariat is already providing this enlightenment to the management and staff in other agencies and companies covered by NEITI mandate.
“This enlightenment is necessary for shared-learning and exchange of ideas to build common understanding and knowledge of the process and benefits with a view to reducing inter-agency friction,” Orji noted.
He, therefore, informed that the NEITI audit process was unique from every other usual audit that PPPRA may be used to, insisting that it was usually based on information and data voluntarily but mandatorily obtained from concerned agencies.
According to him: “For the avoidance of doubt, NEITI audit process is simpler, uniquely different from the usual audit that the Executive Secretary of PPPRA is used to.
“The audit report is based on information and data primarily, voluntarily but mandatorily provided to NEITI by PPPRA during the audit exercise.
“NEITI under the EITI global principles and standards does not manufacture either information or data. Our audit process is built strongly on factual data, integrity and openness because it is both covered entities and multi-stakeholders-driven.
“Therefore the credibility of our report remains solid and one that can be taken to the bank,” Orji stressed.
Information from This Day was used in this report.