Non-release of oil industry audit report raises concern

13 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Twenty-four civil society organizations, which has tasked themselves with monitoring transparency in revenue management of the Nigerian extractive industry, has expressed worry over the continued delay in making the final report of the Annual Oil and Gas Sector Audit Report for 2006-2008 public.

Led by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the group said in Abuja that the long delay in releasing the report contradicts pronouncements by top officials of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) secretariat as far back as February this year that the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) was in the process of releasing the audit report.

The group said in a statement: “We are concerned that the delay in the release of the Audit Report in the very year of attaining validation falls far short of what is expected of a compliant nation and will send wrong signals to the international body on Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring extractive revenue transparency,”

They claimed that the delay contravenes the provisions in the NEITI Act 2007 of section 14(1), which mandates NEITI to “audit the account of total revenue which accrued to the Federal Government from all extractive industry companies, its receipts, payments, assets and liabilities not later than six months after the end of every year.”

The publication and dissemination of the final report was one of the six requirements by the Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Oslo, Norway, which had earlier in October 2010, during its meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, denied Nigeria validation as an EITI compliant nation, giving it six months to take remedial measures to qualify for the elite status.

The other measures included the development of a Board Charter to strengthen the work of the NSWG, while NEITI Secretariat should ensure that henceforth all government disclosures on oil and gas revenues are based on audited accounts of oil, gas and mining companies as well as relevant government agencies in the industry.

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