By Etuka Sunday
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says the finding and recommendations contained in its audit reports are currently being reviewed for implementation by a joint committee set up for this purpose between NEITI and the NNPC.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio gave the assurance in Lagos at a public presentation of REMTRACK- an ICT driven application developed by a non-governmental organization called OrderPaper to track the progress of implementation of the findings and recommendations contained in the NEITI reports.
Mr. Adio explained that NEITI opted for the joint committee approach with the NNPC in view of the resolution by the new management team at the Corporation to work towards addressing the problems.
The ES described the NEITI-NNPC Joint Committee as a milestone initiative in addressing pending remedial issues that will feed into the on-going reforms in the sector.
According to Mr. Adio “REMTRACK is more than an App. It means remediation tracker. It is about enlisting technology to aid remediation”.
The Executive Secretary identified remediation process as the weakest link in the EITI /NEITI value chain. He said that the joint committee approach with the affected agencies on the issues will not be limited to the NNPC but will be extended to all agencies with pending remedial issues from the NEITI report.
Mr. Adio further explained that “NEITI is placing priority attention on remediation because the implementation of the NEITI Audit report findings will lead to impact that will affect the lives of ordinary Nigerians”.
The Chairman of the civil society steering Committee Mr. Kolawole Banwo underlined the role of the civil society as the conscience of the citizen in the EITI implementation. He described the REMTRACK as a democratic process to put the information at the hand of the citizens through their mobile phones
Mr Oke Epia, The Executive Director of the Non – Governmental organization that developed the application, OrderPaper, said that the App provides concise information on remedial issues in the NEITI reports and tracks progress of implementation for use by the citizens to hold government and companies to account.
Mr. Epia stated that “REMTRACK seeks to expand the scope of civic engagement in the national arena. It is not a tool to deride or malign any organization”.
The Director, Communications and Advocacy at NEITI Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji urged the media to use the contents of the application positively and professionally to ensure that the app achieves its desired results. He implored the media to seek clarification on the content to avoid undue sensationalism and misrepresentation of facts. He reaffirmed the confidence of NEITI on the ability of the joint committee between NEITI and the NNPC to resolve the pending remedial issues. He urged the media to look forward to the outcome that the work of the committee.
The joint committee was set up to among other things establish the current status of outstanding remedial issues; identify areas of disagreement between NEITI and the NNPC on the audit findings and recommend appropriate strategies for resolution. The Committee is also charged with the responsibility of producing a workplan with realistic timelines and targets for resolving all pending issues.
The Committee has one month to complete its assignment.