By Etuka Sunday
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has pledged to work closely with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to promote integrity in data collation, validation and management on revenues from extractive industries.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio gave the assurance in Abuja while receiving the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine on a courtesy visit to seek collaboration and partnership.
Mr. Adio expressed concerns over poor sectoral linkages in data generation, collation, management and dissemination on revenues generated or expended from oil, gas and mining sector.
The Executive Secretary identified poor linkages among relevant agencies as major constraints in national planning, natural resource governance and public finance management. He remarked “Our doors are quite open; NEITI is ready and willing to work with sister agencies on information and data sharing, capacity and manpower development. We are also ready to collaborate and partner with the Office of the Auditor General in particular and other similar agencies in general to promote data integrity, openness, standards and uniformity in data collation, validation management and utilization”.
He explained that “It is not just enough to be transparent; it is about being comprehensively transparent to ensure that the information is understood. Anything that will bring about transparency in the management of revenues we will give you all the support”.
“We are working for the same purpose, we have to leverage on the strengths of the different agencies. We have done this for fifteen years and we have the information that will guide you in the extractive industry”. Mr. Adio added.
The Director, Communications and Advocacy, NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji in a statement said, the NEITI Executive Secretary used the opportunity to remind the Office of the Auditor General of their statutory responsibilities in the NEITI process.
In his response, the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayeni called for closer cooperation in data management and knowledge sharing towards efficient implementation of a World Bank funded programme on fiscal governance. He outlined the importance of the donor funded project to building the capacity of selected pilot key government institutions on extractive revenue management.
He noted that “The World Bank funded programme is to address fiscal management issues which will help to strengthen accountability process of the nation’s economy. Adding that about five MDAs are participating which include Auditor General’s Office, Ministry of Budget and Planning, National Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Public Procurement amongst others. He noted that “It is essential that the integrity of our national statistics is enhanced”.
Mr. Ayine described NEITI as an institution of integrity, excellence on data generation, management and dissemination in the extractive industries. He explained that working closely with NEITI will support the desire of his Office for establishment of a structure among key government agencies on data uniformity, transparency and accountability in extractive revenue reporting.
“it is very important and necessary that within us as institutions of the Federal Government that we create a structure whereby we collaborate and do our internal reconciliation of these figures for the integrity of our national data statistics” Mr. Ayine stated.
He pledged to ensure that the Office of the Auditor General takes up its assigned statutory responsibilities in the NEITI –EITI process as provided by the law.
The Auditor General was accompanied on the visit by his management team.