19 November 2012, Sweetcrude, UYO – The Federal Government has pledged to build better systems and procedure that would strenghten the capacity of relevant government agencies and halt mismangement, inefficiency and lack of transparency in the extractive industries.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who stated this Monday at opening of the board retreat for members of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) held at the Le’ Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, Nwaniba, noted that his administration was ready to actualise transparent extractive sector, where the revenues are accounted for and used for the benefit of Nigerians.
Dr. Jonathan, who was represented by Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill O. Akpabio hinted that in the weeks ahead, he would strengthen the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) by re-inaugurating it with senior government officials identified as a key to the reforms of the extractive sector in the country to implement the remedial issues arising from the NEITI audit findings.
President Jonathan lauded the theme of the retreat “From Transparency to Accountability”, refocusing the NEITI to move from its present position of enthroning transparency to recording measurable and visible impacts in the lives of Nigerians, adding ”I consider this theme very fundamental in view of the importance of our natural resources to the economic and social well-being of Nigerians”.
‘In the days ahead, you would be brainstorming on how to make Nigeria’s natural resources work for the people. It is my hope that you would arise from this retreat better informed about focusing on the daunting task of contributing to the much needed reforms in our extractive sector. I urge you to initiate the process of extending the initiative to the states and local government councils to ensure a holistic reform of the sector”, the President said.
He called on stakeholders in the extractive sector especially the companies and government agencies to cooperate with NEITI in the conduct of its audits as well as Nigerians and the international community to support Federal Government to pursue reforms to a logical conclusion.
The Chairman of the NEITI Board, Mr. Ledum Mitee said in order to ensure that extractive industry resources aid development, it was necessary to inject proper doses of transperency into the management of the extractive industries that gave birth to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which is the underlying principle and embedded in the belief that transperency would naturally lead to citizens empowerment, accountability and inexorably the transformation of the resource curse to blessing.
Mr. Mitee pointed out that in the days ahead, they would engage in fashioning out strategies and modalities to achieve the stated aim of the retreat, assuring that the NEITI board was poised to exploit every facet of its statutory responsibilities to achieve just that.
According to him, the stakeholders were strengthened by the Federal Government’s commitment towards the improvement and transparency in the extractive sector resource as well as effective management of public resources, amongst other benefits to improve the image of Nigeria at home and abroad.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that NEITI was enacted as a law in 2007 to ensure accountability and transperency, and requires the gathering of findings in all parts of the country, adding that the audits would be presented to National Assembly to ensure revenues are used for sustainable development and to eradicate poverty.
Mrs. Ahmed also said that their presence in the state was to enthrone transperency, record measurable and visible impacts in the lives of every Nigerian and conduct an audit in the oil and gas industry, and urged the state Governors to implement the activities of NEITI at the state level.