By Christiana Ekpa
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has proposed a total of N1.5 billion for its 2020 operations.
This is just as the agency disclosed that it’s will release the 2017 audit report next week while that of 2018 will be released before the end of the year.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Mr Waziri Adio revealed these while defending the agency’s budget before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said since 1999 to 2016, nine audit reports have been done in the oil and gas sector while seven audit report in the solid minerals had been released.
According to the agency, the proposed sum of N1. 5 would be used to cater for its activities and consumables which include sporting events, publicity, local training, foreign trips, drugs and medicals, as well as monitoring and evaluation among others.
Breaking down the proposal before the committee, the Executive Secretary said that N828 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N337 million for overhead and N355 million for capital.
On the 2019 budget budget performance, Adio said that a total of N1.3 billion was appropriated for the agency, out of which a total of N789 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N277 million for overhead and a total of N267 million was for capital expenditure.
He said that N557 million was released for personnel which represents 70.8 per cent, N138 million was released for overhead which represents 50 percent and nothing has been released for capital which represents 0 percent respectively.
He further told the lawmakers that in 2018, the agency got overhead released for seven out of 12 months and in 2019 only six has been released out of ten months so far spent.
The NEITI boss therefore lamented that the poor release of overhead funds hinders the agency’s performance.
He stressed that there is a global framework known as Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) which is implemented in 52 countries across the world including Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria began implementation in 2004 and by 2007, it was supported by the NIETI establishment Act which was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law.
He also opined that the major reason was to ensure transparency in the management of oil, gas and mining for the development of Nigeria.
On remittances of revenues, the NEITI boss informed the committee that his agency is interested in how much extracting companies pay and how much is remitted to the Federal Government and make public the audit report.
The committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) had earlier pledged to support the agency in its bid to achieve set objective of effectively policing the nation’s extractive industry.
The Deputy Chairman, Hon. Preye Oseke (APC, Bayelsa) said the committee will look into the presentation of the agency and act accordingly.
He said just like the National Assembly, NEITI was also a watchdog organisation which ensure transparency in the oil sector.
Oseke said that the committee would work with the agency and support it to achieve its objectives