Nigerians seek transparent disbursement of oil revenue

Nigeria's central bank.

Nigeria’s central bank.

11 May 2015, Lagos – Following an audit report recently released by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, stakeholders have called for effective and transparent disbursement of fiscal allocation of proceeds from the oil sector.

The stakeholders made the call during a three-day workshop by Centre for Public Private Cooperation, CCPC (a non-governmental organization), in collaboration with NEITI and Department For International Development, DFID, in Lagos, to sensitise civil societies in the South West on ways of deepening their advocacies in ensuring transparency in disbursement of fiscal allocation of proceeds from Extractive Industries.

They alleged lack of transparency in disbursement of revenue accruable to governments from the nation’s extractive industries, and reiterated the need for the passage of petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law. The workshop focused on the 2007-2011 Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) Audit Report recently released by NEITI, which for the first time revealed government earnings in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

The stakeholders drawn from Civil Society organisations, Non Governmental Organisations, (NGOs), academia, the media, women organizations, state actors and religious organisations were equipped with information to enable them ask critical questions about how oil revenue were being disbursed among various tiers of governments and agencies of government.

In her view, the Programme Officer of CCPC, Mrs. Kenny Williams, said the NEITI report was an attempt at promoting transparency and accountability in the industry as it revealed for the first time, how much the country is earning and people could not act on the information to ask relevant questions with view to holding government accountable.

“We know that nations that are rich in oil and gas that often times, the oil is like a predicament. It is a paradox of a rich nation with poor people.” Williams urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to utilise the opportunity provided by the workshop to deepen their advocacy in oil and gas revenue tracking in the South West. She said the call was necessary in view of the far-reaching recommendations contained in the report.

The programme officer who expressed optimism that with the new government, the changes that Nigerians are yearning for in the oil and gas sector will become a reality said the CSO s are expected to step down the information contained in the report to the members of the society particularly the grassroots. “The people should be aware of how much Nigeria is earning and where these monies are being disbursed.

And the question now is government putting into accounts those monies that have been collected? How well are they using these monies so that lives of the better lot of Nigerians will be improved at the end of the day?” In his own submission, the Director of CPPC, Prof. Ademola Ariyo said the workshop was specifically for oil and gas revenue tracking and advocacy in the South West.

He lamented that the operations in the oil and gas sector has over the years been shrouded in secrecy making it a black box, which breeds corruption. “The 2007-2011 Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) audit report recently released by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) offered an opportunity for the incoming government to turn the black box into a white box.

The report will empower the public particularly, the stakeholders and civil societies to empower them with information since information is power having being equipped with information and the intent is to step down training with step down information to other members of the society and at the end of the day, everybody is aware of how much Nigeria is earning and how these money are being disbursed,” Ariyo stated.

The Team Leader Outreach for NEITI, Mrs. Obageli Onuorah said the recommendations and findings by the reports if implemented would reform the oil and gas sectors.
*Chioma Obinna – Vanguard

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