27 May 2014, Abuja – The National Assembly has expressed its determination to ensure that findings in the annual oil and gas industry audit report of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) are extensively implemented.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Ahmed Lawan, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at a round-table meeting on remediation issues raised in various oil and gas industry audit reports of NEITI
The lawmakers said the move had become necessary following the need to enthrone good governance in the management of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources.
“All of us, regardless of our political persuasion, we must support the full implementation of the NEITI reports, I believe in this thing we call NEITI reports. It is true and it is a fact that our oil wells have not brought the desired good and wellbeing for our citizen.” Lawan said.
He explained that for the fact that the country’s oil wells have not serviced the wellbeing of the Nigerian people; the full implementation of NEITI’s audit report should be considered as a means to bring the full benefits that are embedded in the country’s oil and gas industry.
“If the statistics says that the Nigerian economy is the fastest growing economy or whatever, we say the fact remains that we are performing very poor in terms of governance. We have very minimum in good governance.
“If good governance were to exist and deliver to Nigerians what is right to us in oil and gas then NEITI reports must be taken very serious. We want a better accountability, better probity and transparency in oil and gas industry particularly,” he said.
Lawan further harped on the need to redefine the engagement process between NEITI and the National Assembly for both parties to gain better advantage as regards implementation of the audit reports.
He said: “There is need to redefine the engagement process between NEITI and the National Assembly, perhaps when the report gets to the National Assembly and how it should be looked into.
“I believe that just like when the Auditor General of the Federation submits his reports through the plenary session, I think the NEITI report should follow the same process.”
According to him, relevant committees of the National Assembly should have a forum with the NEITI where such report should be delivered and ensure that the process is taken up from the committees to the plenary.
He also decried a situation where government officials describe resolutions of the National Assembly as mere advice, saying: “The NEITI reports are a well thought out and researched from the investigated facts, we should take up the report with all seriousness and deal with them.
“Because, if we cannot deal with it properly the outcome is what we have today; insecurity everywhere, corruption is the order of the day.
“We have determined as a committee and I will take this message to the senate, especially those committees that are very germane in dealing with the course of NEITI,” Lawan added.
He promised that the National Assembly would henceforth cultivate a better partnership with NEITI, stating that an exact date would be set with most of the committees to discuss how the report should be presented to the national assembly.
Similarly, Chairman of the National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI, Ledum Mitee, called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently before them.
Mitee said that the bill would strengthen the roles of NEITI in the sector, adding: “We may for instance consider the option of calling for the unbundling of the PIB into separate bills to ensure measurable progress in the passage of the needed reform legislations in the industry.”
– This Day