Zainab Ahmed NEITIThe Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, on Sunday said it has moved the review of the findings and recommendations of ten key independent audit reports on various aspects of the petroleum industry operations to the first quarter of next year.

NEITI’s Director of Communications, Ogbonnaya Orji, said the exercise, which was earlier scheduled for this week, was shifted for “unforeseen circumstances,” while the Roundtable for Civil Society Organisations earlier scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week was shifted to December 16 and 17.

Consequently, the election of a special committee of the civil society, also planned as part of the roundtable organised to strengthen NEITI’s public education, enlightenment and information on its activities, was also put off.

Mr. Orji listed the reports that would be reviewed next year to include the 1999-2011 NEITI oil and gas audit reports; the Nuhu Ribadu-Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report; the KPMG Audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Kalu Idika Kalu reports on the state of the country’s four refineries.

The other reports include the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee report on fuel subsidy (2009-2011); the Magnus Abe-led Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (2005-2011); the Aig-Imoukhuede-led Committee on Subsidy Claims and Payments; the Aig-Imoukhuede-led Technical Committee on verification & reconciliation of findings of Ministry of Finance investigation reports on subsidy claims and payments; the Dotun Sulaiman Committee on Governance and Global Best Practices in the NNPC; the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter benchmarking report and the Resource Governance Index 2013 report.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the decision to put off the review exercise till next year followed a directive from the Board of the agency whose members frowned at its timing, which seem unfavoutable to their travel schedules, particularly as Christmas is just a few weeks away.

A source close to the agency said apart from the fear that the event, to be organised in partnership with the Revenue Watch Institute, RWI, would be poorly attended if held as scheduled, some members of the Board, who should play a vital role at the forum, were also said to have accused the secretariat of inadequate consultation and involvement in the planning.

RWI, had on May 15, this year, launched the 2013 Resource Governance Index, which measured the quality of governance in oil, gas and mining sectors in 58 countries, including Nigeria,

The countries account for 85 percent of global petroleum production, 90 per cent of diamond and 80 per cent of copper.

Mr. Orji said the objective of the proposed forum was to use its findings to help improve Nigeria’s rating in the next survey by deepening public knowledge and democratic debates about transparency, good governance in the oil and gas s sector and increase government’s attention and priority concerns for the reform of the oil and gas industry.

Another forum to dialogue on installation of metering infrastructure to adequately measure the quantity of crude produced in Nigeria was also rescheduled for next year.

The debate over the possibility of embracing a metering system to accurately measure the quantity of crude produced has remained a major issue in NEITI’s attempt to entrench accountability in oil and gas industry reports.

Participants in the Policy Dialogue on proposed by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, to be held in collaboration with NEITI, was expected to include stakeholders knowledgeable on the metering issue against the situation in Nigeria.

When held, the forum would look at the challenges posed by the absence of a reliable metering system, parricularly the cost to the nation, implications for the sector, constraints for remediation and recommendations for a remediation action plan for the in-coming Inter-ministerial Task.

The absence of an adequate independent metering systems in the country has been a source of major concern, as the industry had to depend largely on third parties, usually the International Oil Companies, to determine the volume of oil and gas produced and exported.


[Premium Times]