24 May 2014, Abuja – Going by the revised reporting standards that were recently unveiled by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday said that its ongoing 2012 audit of operations in the Nigerian oil and gas sector would disclose extant details of crude oil blocks licence holders in the country.
The disclosure which is expected to come under the caption: “Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership,” would as part of the revised EITI natural resource audit reporting standard, push for greater transparency and accountability in crude oil production and revenue receipts from such production.
Adopted in May 2013 at EITI’s last conference in Sydney, Australia, the new standard, however, retains the majority of the requirements of the hitherto existing EITI rules, but now significantly restructured into a smaller set of requirements with clearer expectations that are geared towards producing and disseminating reports that are better grounded in national priorities and reforms.
Mitee explained that the standards equally require improved reliability of data transparency especially, on the part of state-owned companies on revenue collected for the government, as well as expenditure made on social services, public infrastructure and fuel subsidy payments.
“The EITI adopted a new set of standards in May 2013 at the last global conference in Australia. The new EITI standards, which revised the previous ones was undertaken to make the initiative more relevant in driving economic reforms among implementing countries.
“The revised standards require, for instance, disclosure of production figures, revenue flows to state, local and other accounts as well as disclosure of ownership of the license holders (disclosure of beneficial ownership),” Mitee said.
He further noted that: “The new standards also require improved reliability of data transparency on the part of state-owned companies and other government entities on revenues collected on behalf of the government.
It equally focuses on expenditure on social services, public infrastructure and fuel subsidy payments. In addition, the revised standards encourage contract transparency in companies and government.”
Speaking on NEITI’s plans to incorporate the new standards into its ongoing 2012 oil and gas audit process, Mitee said: “The aspects of the new standards that were not captured by our current processes would be incorporated in the 2012 audit reports now in progress.
“As we venture in this new terrain, it becomes absolutely necessary that as a critical stakeholder in the EITI implementation process, civil society organisations should have a sound understanding of the various aspects of the new standards to enable them play their expected key roles in the process,” he added.
Although, NEITI had previously included aspects such as crude oil production figures, revenue allocations to the different tiers of government and other accounts in its reporting cycle, the revised standards however gives NEITI the responsibility to seek and disclose the identity of people with licenses to own and operate oil blocks in the country.
Earlier in her remarks, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed, stated that while the 2012 audit of the country’s oil and gas sector was in progress, the procurement process for the 2013 cycle had also commenced as part of efforts to keep NEITI in good track with the objectives of the global EITI.
Ahmed equally said the agency will soon present findings of its fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement audit covering the period 2007 to 2011 to the public, haven concluded the audit process which covered disbursements of funds accrued to the federation account from the oil and gas sector to the three tiers of government and other agencies that receive direct allocation from the account.
– This Day