By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it is not a revenue generating agency and has no powers under the law to either collect, keep custody or manage government revenues.
NEITI says rather it supports government to mobilise revenue for its development activities by beaming searchlight on leakages, wastages and other areas through which government can optimise its revenue take from the country’s natural resources.
NEITI made this known in a statement on Wednesday by Mrs Obiageli Onuorah, Deputy Director/Head Communication and Stakeholders’ Management, NEITI.
Onuorah said this clarification on NEITI’s position became necessary due to a story in a section of the media credited to a member of the Senate titled “Lawmaker demands NEITI’s probe over missing $15 billion, N200 billion”.
She said NEITI viewed the report as misleading, a mix-up of issues and misrepresentation of facts contained in its latest oil and gas industry report released at a public event held on the Sept. 18, 2021 in Abuja.
She said the sum of 8.26 billion dollars (and not 15 bllion dollars as attributed to the lawmaker by the newspaper report) was the public disclosure by NEITI.
She said it was a disclosure as potential collectible revenues due to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as outstanding liabilities.
She said in the same direction the sum of N200 billion Naira was another revelation by NEITI in the same report as funds expended on the repair of the nation’s refineries between 2020 and 2021 which it queried in the same report since the refineries were not working.
“The funds in questions and other crucial facts, information and data are contained in the recently released NEITI Report.
“For avoidance of doubt, the core responsibility of NEITI is to release this information and data to the public while it is within the mandates of the legislator, the civil society and the citizens to use the disclosed information for advocacy and civic engagements.
“NEITI is fully aware that the relevant Committees of the National Assembly are currently working closely with NEITI to address the findings and recommendations thrown up by the report.
“It is therefore a misconception and misrepresentation of the position of the law maker calling for the investigation of NEITI over a missing $15 Billion revenue,” she said.
The deputy director further said the clarification became necessary in other to re-focus attention on the basis for the conduct of the reports released by NEITI.
This, she said was to highlight findings in the reports, ensure better implementation of NEITI’s report recommendations, address the lingering issues in the extractive sector, and improve optimisation of Nigeria’s extractive endowments for the benefit of all Nigerians. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola