NEITI introduces new audit template for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector

LAGOS-The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has introduced a new audit template aimed at capturing all revenues accrued in the oil and gas sector extensively.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Executive Secretary, NEITI made this known in Lagos yesterday in a two-day special workshop by NEITI to sensitize oil and gas companies on the newly introduced data template in capturing the oil and gas data and information based on their operations.

Ahmed said that the workshop is designed to acquaint major companies and key players in the oil and gas sector on the contents, requirement, important process and the use of template by NEITI.

She stressed that one of the essence of the workshop is for companies to furnish NEITI with valid information and data required for its audit of the oil and gas industry that is about to commence across the country.

The NEITI boss said that the audit template workshop is one of the series of public and stakeholders engagement to bring to the door step of Nigerians the process involved in the audit process and what NEITI expects all key stakeholders to do.

She noted that the new template project that is about to commence will ensure that the audit covers the full scope of the downstream sector of oil and gas adding that the agency has done series of audit in the past.

“What we are having today is the first step to conduct an audit in the oil and gas sector which is a template workshop. This medium will be used to collect data from the oil and gas template which has various categories of data.”

The Executive Secretary said that the workshop stems from the recent and ongoing developments in the sector which has led to increasing public suspicion and allegations of corruption in the sector.

“NEITI has carried out an audit process in the oil and gas sector for the period of 1999 to 2005 and most recently we had 2006 to 2008 respectively.

“Therefore, the process we are about to explain in this workshop is not entirely new to most of the companies represented here, but we in NEITI are aware that in the previous audit none perhaps will attract the kind of attention and public interest than the one that NEITI is set to commence,’’ she said.

She said that industry audit is a fundamental step by NEITI to meet its international mandate as required by NEITI Act of 2007 as well as Nigerian’s international obligations as a member of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

“In response to these national expectations, two indigenous reputable firms have been engaged to carry out the audit of the solid minerals sector and the oil and gas industry from the period of 2007 to 2010 and 2009 to 2011 respectively.

“The importance of the project can be found in its relevance to providing pertinent, current and reliable information and data on the amount of money that companies paid to government as tax, royalty, levies, bonuses etc under review,’’ Ahmed added.

She explained that the exercise will also provide information to the public on what government received, if companies paid what they were expected to pay or if government received what it was expected to receive.

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is mandated by law to promote transparency and accountability in the management of Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining revenues.

A major component of the on-going anti-corruption reform in Nigeria is the national version of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is a global movement aimed at ensuring that extractive resources aid sustainable development.

It would be recalled  that NEITI was inaugurated in February 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he set up the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) under the leadership of Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili.

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