As part of efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the oil, gas, and extractives sector, plagued by corruption and underpayment of royalties, the House of Representative has revealed the plan to provide legislative backings and stronger power to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to prosecute infractions in the extractive sector based on the findings and recommendations of its industry reports.
Hon. Ikeagwonu Ugochinyere, Chairman of, the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream made this known when he and his team paid a courtesy visit to the office of Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary at the NEITI House on Monday.
According to Hon, Ikeagwonu, our committee is ready to propose legislation that will give NEITI stronger powers for the prosecution of infractions in the extractive sector.
EnergyDay gathered that NEITI has over the years released reports revealing the magnitude of revenue losses and corruption in Nigeria’s oil, gas, and extractive industries due to oil theft and economic saboteurs.
The decision by the National Assembly to provide legislative backing to the agency can be a positive step towards improving governance in Nigeria’s oil sector. This will ensure that the country reaps the benefits of its natural resources while combating corruption in the sector.
The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Downstream in his statement therefore noted that if Committees of the National Assembly in the past had given more attention to the findings and recommendations of the NEITI industry reports, there couldn’t have been a need for some public hearings and investigations.”
He commended NEITI for the exceptional work it has done over the years in leading on issues of transparency and accountability in the Nigeria extractive sector.
He urged NEITI to collaborate with the National Assembly through the provision of information and data that will help members in their work. He also appealed to NEITI to see the Committee as a partners in the project of transparency.
Dr. Orji, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, in his remark to the statement made by the members of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream, requested the Committee’s support to facilitate the debate of the NEITI Industry Reports at the plenary of the National Assembly.
He said, “The NEITI Reports are comprehensive and contain incisive information and data which are supposed to be debated at plenary to get the necessary attention of policymakers”.
“At NEITI, our duty is to provide information and data, the duty of the civil society and the National Assembly is to use the information and data to hold both government and companies to account.
Dr.Orji stated that NEITI is available to provide information and data that will be required by the Committee in carrying out its oversight functions in the downstream sector of the Nigeria extractive sector.
The NEITI Executive Secretary therefore appealed to the Committee to lend its voice to the call by NEITI on the Government to reconstitute the Petroleum Industry Act Implementation Committee (PISTEERCO).
This according to him will enable the Committee on PIA to finalise its work on the implementation of the Act.