The International Secretariat of the global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) has congratulated Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji on his appointment as the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A message from the Executive Director and Head of the International Secretariat based in Oslo, Norway - Mr Mark Robinson welcomed the appointment with excitement and pledged closer EITI working relationship with Nigeria under Dr. Orji’s leadership of NEITI.

Similarly, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari in his congratulatory message remarked that Dr. Orji’s unwavering quest and commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in natural resource governance is an asset that will help him in his new role. He reaffirmed the commitment of the NNPC to working closer with NEITI under Dr Orji especially in the implementation of the recommendations of the NNPC-NEITI joint committee on remediation.

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu conveyed the appreciation of the people of Abia North Senatorial district in Abia State to the President on the appointment. Sen. Kalu assured the President that Dr. Orji is a seasoned professional with amazing leadership qualities.

The Honourable Member representing Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency, Dr. Francis Ottah Agbo, in his congratulatory message noted that “he has no doubt that Orji will use his experience as a journalist and an administrator to reposition the organisation to effectively ensure transparency and accountability in the country's oil, gas and mining industries”. The Lawmaker who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotic Drugs, described Dr. Orji “as a journalist who rose through the ranks to an enviable position at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) before joining NEITI where he has risen to head the organisation”.

Leading civil society organizations in the extractive industry have also backed President Muhammadu Buhari's choice of Dr Orji to lead NEITI. The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) described the appointment as suitable and outstanding given Dr. Orji’s diverse experience in resource governance and public service. CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Musa Rafsanjani expressed the hope that Dr. Orji’s appointment will help hasten the process of re-composition of NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) by the President.

The National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) in Nigeria, a major civil society organization in EITI process, Mr Peter Egbule described Dr. Orji’s appointment as sound judgement by President Buhari which is driven by merit, competence and integrity. They appealed to the President to reconstitute the NEITI Board in addition to this laudable decision.

The Executive Director, Women In Extractives, Faith Nwadishi said she was particularly happy that President Buhari acted promptly to appoint a replacement for the position, describing Mr Orji’s choice as excellent.

“Dr Orji is well and able. He is qualified and he has been in the EITI process from the beginning, and so he brings a lot of experience to bear on the job”, Ms Nwadishi said.

Urging the Federal Government to reconstitute the board of NEITI which has been vacant for almost year, Ms Nwadishi said this would ensure the job of sustaining transparency in the oil and gas, and the solid mineral sector was not hindered.

She charged Mr Orji to hit the ground running and make the EITI process in Nigeria exemplary because of his wide experience in the EITI process.

The National Coordinator of Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI), Bassey Udo, hailed Mr Orji’s appointment, saying as a professional communications expert and media guru, he would deploy his many years’ experience to expand NEITI’s relationship with the media to deepen the EITI process in Nigeria.

“We commend Mr President for the excellent decision. We congratulate Dr. Orji on the well-deserved appointment. We urge him to use his good offices to deepen NEITI’s interventions in the oil, gas and mining sectors through a wider stakeholders’ engagement and outreach through the media for the overall good of the industry,” Mr Udo added.

You will recall that Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji was appointed Executive Secretary of NEITI by President Muhammadu Buhari on 18th February, 2021 at the expiration of the previous Board.

Obiageli Onuorah (Mrs)

Head Communications and Advocacy

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed a total of N2.054 trillion to the three tiers of government and other statutory recipients in the third quarter of 2020, despite COVID-19 pandemic and its attendants socio-economic consequences.

A breakdown shows that the Federal Government received N812.22 billion; state governments received N676.5 billion while local government areas got N429.16 billion. This was the first time that total disbursement has exceeded N2 trillion for a quarter in 2020.

The information is contained in the latest edition of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency (NEITI)’s Quarterly Review. The review analyzed FAAC disbursements in the third quarter of 2020, using data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

“Total disbursements of N2.054 trillion in 2020 Q3 were 6.2% higher than total disbursements of N1.934 trillion in 2020 Q2, and 5.6% higher than total disbursements of N1.945 trillion in 2020 Q1”, the review stated.

However, the disbursements in 2020 Q3 were lower than those of the corresponding quarters in 2019 and 2018 as a whole and to the three tiers of government.

According to the review, 2020 Q3 disbursements were “9.6% lower than the N2.273 trillion disbursed in the third quarter of 2019 and 9.8% lower than the N2.278 trillion disbursed in the third quarter of 2018”.

Explaining further, the review stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) received N812.22 billion in the third quarter of 2020, which was 11.7% lower than the N920.2 billion and 10.2% lower than the N904.8 billion the FGN received in the third quarters of 2019 and 2018 respectively.

The states on the other hand received a total of N676.5 billion in the third quarter of 2020, showing a decrease of 6.6% when compared to the N724.16 billion they got in the third quarter of 2019, and 5.9% lower than the N718.5 billion they received in the third quarter of 2018.

The local governments got a total of N429.16 billion in 2020 Q3. This was 9.6% lower than the N441.19 billion they got in 2019 Q3 and 9.8% lower than the N432.1 billion they received in 2018 Q3.

“The dip in disbursements between 2020 Q3 and corresponding quarters in 2019 and 2018 was largely on account of the impact of COVID-19 and its associated effects on demand for oil, oil prices, economic activities and other sources of revenues”, the review noted.

Further analysis reveals that disbursements to the three tiers of government fell between the first and second quarters, and then increased between the second and third quarters of 2020.

The review stated that: “Total disbursements to the FGN were N791.44 billion, N739.2 billion and N812.22 billion for the first, second and third quarters of 2020, respectively. This means that disbursements in the third quarter were 9.9% higher than disbursements in the second quarter, and 2.6% higher than disbursements in the first quarter.”

“For states, total disbursements were N669.02 billion in the first quarter, N629.26 billion in the second quarter, and N676.5 billion in the third quarter. Thus, disbursements to states in 2020 Q3 were 7.5% higher than disbursements in 2020 Q2, and 1.1% higher than disbursements in 2020 Q1.”

According to the review, “Local governments received total of N395.95 billion in 2020 Q1, N375.39 billion in 2020 Q2, and N429.16 billion in 2020 Q3. Thus, the disbursements to local governments in 2020 Q3 were 14.3% higher than the amount disbursed in 2020 Q2, and 8.4% higher than the disbursements in 2020 Q1”.

The NEITI review equally disclosed that: “Total FAAC disbursements in 2020 Q3 were higher than disbursements in either the first or second quarters of 2020, continuing a trend that stretches back to 2015”.

The review noted that higher disbursements in the third quarters of the years were generally on account of increased demand for oil during the summer season, and the attendant surge in oil prices. It also attributed rise in third quarter disbursements for this year to two primary factors:

“First, there has been increased demand for oil following the easing of the global economic shut-downs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, the official exchange rate (earlier adjusted in March 2020 from N305/$1 to N360/$1) was adjusted from N360/$1 to N380/$1, and this will necessarily lead to higher disbursements from FAAC as revenues are shared in Naira”, the review stated.

On FAAC disbursements to states in 2020 Q3, NEITI review noted that there was wide disparity in the total net disbursements. This ranged between the lowest of N9.39 billion net disbursements to Osun State and the highest of N43.08 billion net disbursements to Delta State, indicating a variance of 358%.

According to the review, apart from the sharing formula, the amount of deductions carried out also plays a role in determining how much net disbursements are received by states. Yobe State had the lowest deduction of N81.98 million, whileLagos State had the highest deduction of N17.35 billion, which was 10% higher than the combined total deductions of 20 states (N15.72 billion).

The review further revealed that the combined disbursements of the four states with the highest disbursements (Delta, Rivers, Lagos and Akwa Ibom states) amounted to N144.48billion. This was higher than the combined total of N135.36 billion received by the 12 states with the lowest disbursements (Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Ekiti, Gombe, Zamfara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Taraba & Ondo).

On the revenue outlook for 2020 Q4, the NEITI review projected that actual oil revenue is likely to continue to outperform the projected oil revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020. However, it cautioned that even with projected improvement in revenues in 2020 Q4 and based on the total revenues received in the first three quarters of 2020, all tiers of government may struggle to meet the revenue projection in their revised budgets for the year

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