President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has directed all agencies affected by NEITI audit reports to recover the outstanding $9.6billion uncovered by NEITI audit reports of the Oil and Gas sector.
The President gave the directive in Abuja while receiving the Board and Management of NEITI at the State House.
President Jonathan requested the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to immediately set in motion the process of reconstituting the Inter Ministerial Task Team on implementation of NEITI findings and recommendations with requisite high ranking officers with the appropriate levels of authority.
He commended NEITI for its courage, diligence and commitment to transparency and accountability in the management of the extractive sector which has resulted in the exposure of under payments and under assessments of what companies in the sector ought to pay to the Federation coffers.
President Jonathan also directed that NEITI principles and operations be fully integrated into the on-going Government’s economic reform agenda.
He commended NEITI for winning the global award for Nigeria as the best implementing country of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s ranking by the global body.
Earlier, the Chairman of NEITI Board, Mr Ledum Mitee, called for the President’s intervention to address the funding challenges facing the organisation.
Ledum Mitee noted that “NEITI’s budgetary provision has continued to dwindle whilst its activities remain on steady expansion and the situation has worsened to the extent that it now threatens the agency’s continued performance of its core functions”
Mr Mitee also appealed to the President to ensure that all outstanding NEITI findings and recommendations in the extractive industry are implemented as
“This would not only help a great deal in the revenue drive of this administration but would help to underline the fact that NEITI exists mostly for the purpose of helping to remedy identified gaps and not just fault finding.”
Reacting to NEITI’s presentation, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, promised to ensure that NEITI’s intervention in the extractive sector would be adequately aligned with on-going economic programmes especially on extractive revenue resources management.
She affirmed that “NEITI’s activities and benefits are critical to government’s reform initiatives. We can no longer ignore the need to work closely with NEITI to achieve integrated approach to our economic reforms.’’
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, said that NEITI’s outing at the recent EITI global conference in Sydney Australia was impressive. He noted that EITI provides a rare opportunity which Nigeria must explore positively in the on-going reforms. The Global Conference was a big forum where NEITI made Nigeria proud.
The Minister of Petroleum Mrs Deziani Allison Maduekwe who was also at the meeting commended NEITI for the quality of its work and engagements in the industry and called for closer cooperation with her ministry and affiliate parastatals. She welcomed NEITI’s sustained interest in the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Other notable government functionaries present at the meeting were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Director General Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogwu and Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Mike Ogiadome.