The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are to set up a standing committee on the resolution of the remedial issues arising from the NEITI Audit reports and recommendations.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari agreed on the committee today in Abuja during a courtesy visit by NEITI to the NNPC towers.
Dr. Orji stated that “This standing committee will look at the outstanding remedial issues and any other issues that may be thrown up in the NEITI reports and advice the two managements on how to resolve them”.
He said that he was at the NNPC to continue the discussions on institutional building and to exchange views on how to provide public value in the on-going reforms in the extractive sector. “I am much more concerned on how to link the NEITI reports to visible impacts. There are a number of institutional reform issues which we have placed before the government and which I will like to see implemented given the expanding nature of the EITI” Dr. Orji stated.
Dr Orji maintained that NEITI under his leadership, will seek greater partnership with the NNPC, but however explained that this partnership will be “Based on mutual respect” According to Dr. Orji, “NNPC should respect the mandate and strength of NEITI at all times. This will help the two organisations to grow and help build public trust and confidence.”
He urged the GMD of NNPC to review NNPC’s position on contract transparency to a level consistent with the global EITI principles. “We will work with the NNPC on systematic disclosures under the mainstreaming framework. Other areas which NEITI is seeking NNPC’s partnership include beneficial ownership disclosure which is key to NNPC’s membership of the EITI, mainstreaming, commodity trading, timely release of our reports, sharing of data and information and other transparency issues in extractive sector governance”, the NEITI boss stated.
The NEITI Executive Secretary commended the NNPC GMD for his remarkable efforts at opening up the NNPC, but urged him to further push the boundaries of compliance to the EITI principles. “When NEITI speaks now, NNPC listens. This is remarkable and commendable. If NNPC changes from this trajectory, NEITI too will change its approach, but we can work better for the good of our citizens”.
Welcoming his guest,the GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari revealed that the Corporation has benefitted immensely from being accountable and transparent. “What disclosure did for us can easily be quantified in terms of our relationship with our financial institutions. Since we opted to disclose our financial statements, the speed at which we close financial transactions haves been monumental. We do them at a quarter of the time that we would have ordinary closed them out”.
According to the GMD, “I did not have any difficulty aligning with the EITI principles. The EITI exposed me to a number of things that need to be done. It was a matter of personal persuasion”. He assured NEITI that “You have a partner that has gone beyond the expectations of the EITI framework”.
“All the submissions and the working documents we made to FAAC up till the 18th March, 2021 have been disclosed. No national oil company does this. We may disagree with the content, the presentations may not be the way people want to see it, but we have a representation of 100% of every transaction we are doing on behalf of the federation”, Mr Kyari explained.
On beneficial ownership disclosures, Mr. Mele Kyari advised that the solution lies with the international banking and regulatory institutions. According to him “Every transaction beyond $50,000 goes through these institutions. Only a corruption check can unveil the real owners and beneficiaries of these extractive assets”.
The GMD committed to work with NEITI and help the executive secretary succeed in the onerous task of superintending Nigeria’s extractive sector to make it more transparent and accountable for the benefit of Nigerians.
Mr. Kyari welcomed the decision to set up the joint standing committee on remediation and pledged full support of the NNPC to the work of the committee.
Obiageli Onuorah (Mrs)
Head, Communications and Advocacy