04 March 2014, Lagos – The Transparency International (TI) has said the inclusion of stronger transparency provisions in the yet to be passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will mostly encourage the practice accountability in operations within Nigeria’s hydrocarbon industry.
It also welcomed the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan of a full investigation into the oil sector following the alleged non remittance of revenues of up to $20 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In its reaction to the ongoing controversy around the allegedly missing crude oil revenue, the TI called on the federal government to step up its fight against corruption especially in the oil and gas sector.
“Missing revenues are depriving Nigerian citizens of a fair share of this wealth that could go to improving health, education and creating employment for the youth. The government owes it to the people of Nigeria to investigate this fully and hold to account those responsible,” chair of TI, Huguette Labelle said in a statement that was obtained recently in Abuja.
The statement added: “To win against corruption, Nigeria needs effective oversight institutions and no impunity for corruption. Stronger provisions in the much-awaited new oil law could help deliver greater transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s oil sector so that natural resources benefit all citizens.
“Transparency International urges the government to move quickly on this new legislation. Nigeria is pumping an average of 2 million barrels per day. Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer, the country has some of the lowest human development indicators in the world. Life expectancy is only 52 years and 85 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.”
It recalled that the Nigeria’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) had overtime said that the NNPC owes the government about $8.3 billion in oil revenues for the years 2009-2011 and that the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has also called for an independent forensic audit of the financial accounts of the NNPC.
TI thus urged President Jonathan to follow up by stepping up fight against such corrupt acts, adding that the president had pledged to zero tolerance for corruption when he took office but that 84 per cent of Nigerians surveyed by it in 2012 stated that corruption had increased in the past two years.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Sahara Energy, Mr. Wale Ajibade has said the decision of the NNPC to key into the Nigerian local content Act of 2010 has overtime resulted in deeper participation of Nigerian companies in the upstream and downstream sectors of the country’s petroleum industry which had hitherto been left to foreign concerns.
Ajibade who spoke on the backdrop of the ongoing revenue remittance controversy which NNPC is involved in, stated that Sahara Energy currently employs about 600 Nigerians as a result of the local content law implementation.
– This Day