From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has again disclosed that the country lost about 160 million barrels of crude oil valued at $13.7 billion to crude oil theft from 2009-2012.
NEITI stated that records from the three international oil companies, Shell Production Development Company, Nigerian Agip Oil Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited revealed that over N4.8 trillion has been expended by government on subsidy payments alone.
These disclosures are coming as the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, solicited the support of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, towards the implementation of findings and recommendations contained in NEITI Audit reports.
NEITI called for a gradual phasing out of the subsidy scheme, which according to Mrs. Ahmed, was designed to benefit ordinary Nigerian but has become a drainpipe on government revenue by a few privileged individuals through all forms of manipulations and corrupt practices
She described issues thrown up in the reports, which have remained unimplemented as “an unfortunate recurring decimal.”
Mrs. Ahmed made the call when she led a delegation of NEITI management on a courtesy visit to the Governor in Kaduna.
The visit was part of a planned sensitisation programme for key officers in the new administration on the principles, methods and benefits of Nigeria’s membership of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The Executive Secretary informed the Governor that between 2009 and 2012, Nigeria lost about $1.1 billion to crude oil and product swap, while NLNG dividends to the tune of $11.6 billion was yet to be remitted to the Federation Account. She further disclosed that from the NEITI 2012 Report, Nigeria spent over $7 billion on Joint Venture Cash Calls with international oil companies.
She conveyed NEITI’s position that the Federal Government should divest its shares in the joint ventures, incorporate the joint ventures and/or transit them to other types of operating arrangements like the production sharing contracts.
Mrs. Ahmed joined the calls for the unbundling of the NNPC and commercialisation of the new sub-business units to free the corporation from regulatory functions.
On NEITI’s recent audit that examined how states disburse and use revenues accruing to them from their share of the Federation Account, the Executive Secretary told Governor El-Rufai that what NEITI found was that most states in Nigeria have over the years depended on oil revenues and did little or nothing to generate revenues internally. “The country and the states are over reliant on oil revenues. They have neglected the huge potentials abundant within. Some states have as little as 3 per cent internally generated revenue, carry a huge recurrent expenditure and deploy very little to capital and social services like education, health care and security. What we saw from the report of the nine of the states sampled are shocking,” Mrs. Ahmed said, urging the Governor to study the report for the benefit of Kaduna State.
She said the report will benefit Kaduna State and is in line with the philosophy of EITI, which believes that “when the citizenry are able to ask how revenues from their natural resources are used, then accountability has been achieved.”
Mrs. Ahmed said that the NEITI Audit reports of the oil and gas sector covering years 1999-2012, the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit findings and recommendations covering years 2007-2011 and the Solid Minerals sector Audit that spanned years 2007-2012 contain a wealth of information that further informs the need for urgent and speedy reforms of the extractive sector in Nigeria.
Responding, Governor of Kaduna State and member of the National Economic Council (NEC), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, pledged his support and commitment to the EITI process in Nigeria as a global response to fight resource curse.
Source : SunOnline