The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday said that the $22.06b and N481.75b that are yet to be remitted by NNPC, NPDC and others to the Federation Account, reported in the media yesterday, are legacy issues arising from its audit reports for the period 1999 to 2015.
A statement issued by director, Communication and Advocacy, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, explained that the bulk of the outstanding amounts is from NLNG dividends from the period 2000 to 2015 and outstanding payments for the value of 12 Oil Mining Licenses (OMLs) divested to NPDC between 2011 and 2013.
According to him, “To say the non-remittance happened under this administration or that the money went missing from the Federation Account is therefore totally incorrect and deliberately misleading.
“This clarification has become necessary based on the distortion and politicisation of the media reports of a conference hosted by NEITI in Abuja yesterday. The focus of the conference was on how to ensure better implementation of NEITI’s audit recommendations, address the lingering issues in the extractive sector, and improve optimisation of Nigeria’s extractive endowments for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he stated.
He explained that the conference was not a fault-finding or political event. It was a solution-oriented gathering with good representation and useful contributions from government agencies (including NNPC, DPR, CBN, PPPRA etc), the private sector, civil society, academia, and the media.
The information shared for discussion is not only historical, but also not new. There was nothing in the data shared and discussed yesterday that had not been made public over time, most notably in the NEITI Policy Brief on unremitted funds released in April 2017 and in the NEITI 2015 industry audit reports released in December 2017.
Those who follow discussions on these issues closely would also be aware that various efforts have been made by different government institutions, including the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee (FAAC) and the National Economic Council (NEC) to ensure that NNPC and its subsidiaries address these legacy issues.
It is noteworthy that at the conference yesterday, the NNPC team confirmed that many of the issues under reference have either been resolved or at advanced stages of resolution. While NEITI awaits the outcome of its ongoing audits for 2016 and 2017 to provide update on these and other issues, it is wrong to deliberately distort data from NEITI’s audits and the issues arising from them for sensational or political purposes.
NEITI hereby wishes to renew its appeal to the media and the civil society as key partners in the EITI process to always cross-check to ensure that facts align with the issues before publication.