14 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja- The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it will kick off the 2009-2011 audit of the Nigerian oil and gas sector on Friday.
NEITI’s spokesperson, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said in Abuja that contrary to criticisms, the agency responsible for promoting transparency and accountability in the country’s extractive industry, has not reneged on its commitment to concluding the 2006-2008 audit process by releasing the final report.
Orji was reacting to the demand on Monday by 24 civil society groups, led by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), for the immediate release of the report, after stating that the continued delay in publishing the final findings of the audit within one year of Nigeria attaining Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) validation status falls far short of expectation.
According to the groups, the delay is not only sending wrong signals to the international transparency group about Nigeria’s commitment to ensure the entrenchment of revenue transparency in the extractive industry, it 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.”
But, NEITI said it was on the way to releasing the controversial report, pointing out that the first part, covering industry financial flows, has since been published on its official website last February.
According to Orji, following the publication, NEITI had indicated that some time would be required to conclude the physical and process audits, in view of the complex nature of the process involved, adding that the comprehensive audit has since June been concluded and approved by the Board.
He also said though the Board’s approval was on condition that the auditor addressed some pertinent issues observed before presenting it to the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly.