Reps task NEITI on improved revenue generation

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to improve on revenue generation rather than its reliance on government.

Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Hon. Sarki Adar gave the charge during the 2020 mid-year budget defence which was presented by NEITI Executive Secretary, Mr Waziri Adio.

Hon. Adar advised further of the need for the agency to improve its staff strength stressing that failure to do that will negatively affect their performance.

According to the House committee chairman, if your staff are not on the ground you will only rely on what was written and submitted to you.

Speaking before members of the committee, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr Waziri Adio called for the need to amend the act governing the agency in order to ensure stable funding for the agency.

His words: “We are interested in the amendment of the Act so that we can function well. We are not comfortable with the way the agency has been functioning.”

He revealed that the total amount so far received from the government as capital between January to June is N109 million of which N47.9 million has so far been spent.

On recurrent from January to June 2020, NEITI received a total of N109.105 million, out of N325 million overhead, there was released in January but got N27.2 million in February, no release in March, N27 million released in April, May no.allocation and in June got two tranches of N54.5 million, totalling N109.1 million while the value of processed liabilities and commitment that are due was out at N59.9 million.

On the capital expenditure, NEITI got zero allocation from January to June, noting that whatever happened to NEITI is applicable to the federal government agencies.

According to Mr Adio, the personnel cost is managed by the IPPIS under the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

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On overhead expenditure, he disclosed that the total sum of N47.9 million has so far been spent.

He observed that NEITI is largely funded through appropriation as well as other supports from the World Bank and other development partners.

According to him, the agency publishes industry reports namely: Oil & Gas, Solid Minerals and Fiscal Allocation & Statutory Disbursement Audit as part of its mandates.

“Since 2004 we have published 11 cycles of Oil and Gas audit report, 9 cycles of Solid Minerals reports and 2 cycles of Fiscal Allocations and Statutory Disbursement Audit.

“The 2018 Oil and Gas report and Solid Minerals reports were released in March this year which sets a record among the 53-year tier developing country in terms of being released on time. Within the EITI, we are allowed to release your report within 2 years of the years that you are covering. So the 2018 report is due by the end of the year 2020.

“But this year we were able to beat that record and able to release it by March this year which was widely acknowledged by the EITI and there was an article that was written and well-circulated commending Nigeria for setting this record.

“Also in 2019, Nigeria on the account of what NEITI does with stakeholders, Nigeria was adjudged to have attained satisfactory progress which is the highest level of disclosure within the EITI and this is a status achieved only by 7 out of the 53 EITI countries,” he said.

He explained that the age Cy has done 16 quarterly reviews, six NEITI policy brief which focused on how to insulate Nigeria from the perennial fluctuations in oil prices as well as occasional paper review.

Mr Adio while explaining some challenges of the agency said since it started in 2004, it has been operating in a rented building.

“We have been struggling to pay rent. To achieve this, we’ve been partnering with some agencies”, he added.

He said NEITI receive in-kind and demand-driven supports from World Bank and other donors adding that the donors do not give cash and the agency do not have Internally Generated Revenue.

Explaining further the NEITI Executive Secretary said the agency currently operates with 48 members of staff adding that it can not have more staff to monitor situations as only two staff are employed from each state that applied.

He said the agency has not been able to do any recruitment due to the Coronavirus pandemic but efforts are been made to replace retired staff through approval from the Federal government.

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