Public Presentation of the Oil, Gas and Solid Minerals Audit Reports to the Media and CSOs

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Public Presentation of the Oil, Gas and Solid Minerals Audit Reports to the Media and CSOs

On Tuesday, 13 July 2021, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) held a Public Presentation of the Oil, Gas and Solid Minerals Audit Reports to the Media and CSOs at Oriental Hotel, Lagos. The event started with Ms Obiageli Onuorah, Head, Communications and Advocacy, NEITI, highlighting the usefulness of the report while stating the importance of data as a means for strengthening public debate and implementing policies. The reports, policy briefs and other information published by NEITI have been a catalyst for ongoing reforms and have helped the country to identify about USD 20 billion in recoverable revenues, and to recover approximately USD 3 billion into government coffers to date.

She went further to explain that the presentation of the Audited reports was made to the media and CSOs amongst all their stakeholders because these two stakeholders play similar and major roles in the development of NEITI’s multi-stakeholder codes and as key accountable actors have a responsibility to:

– be a part of NEITI’s audit and other policy processes

– share the information provided in useful quarters

– help to mobilise positive opinions from government and citizens

– act on the information provided.

There were representatives of media houses such as Live News, Vanguard, BusinessDay, Eyewitness, AIT, Inside Business, Essential Print Media amongst others. CSOs represented included CSR-in-Action, Development Initiative, BudgIT Foundation, Inclusive Foundation, NURTW, NUPENG etc.

Opening remarks were given by Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, NEITI’s Executive Secretary and EITI’s Chair on behalf of Nigeria, who explained the importance of the launch process. The mandate of NEITI is to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industry for the benefit of Nigerians. NEITI is therefore required to conduct regular revenue auditing to support revenue and reduce poverty in Nigeria. The reports presented have very copious findings and observations to be used for positive engagement. In his words, “He who has data and facts controls the debate.” Dr Orji revealed that the 2020 report of the solid minerals sector would be released in September.

Goodwill messages were taken from key members of the press and CSO community including Peter Egbule, veteran and well-respected CSO professional and National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay as well as Olu Phillips, Channels TV energy correspondent and president/Chairman of the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC), represented by Deputy Chair of NAEC, Ugo Amadi. They both commended NEITI for the timeliness of the report despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions while assuring the body of their commitment towards them.

Dr Dieter Bassi, Director, Technical, NEITI, during the presentation of the Gas and Solid Minerals audit reports, revealed the following:

– The 2019 report covered 74 companies and 6 government agencies, an increase from the 69 captured in 2018, while production volume rose to 59.83 million tons in 2019 compared to the 40.7 million tons recorded in 2018.

– Nigeria earned a total of N79.9 billion from the solid minerals sector in 2019

– Exploration, Export and Production are the key areas covered in the report

Some challenges identified in the sector include underpayment of royalties, non-payment of taxes by some companies, multiple TINs, non-compliance with EPRF and non-regularisation of titles, poor access to funds, and poor supervision.

Mrs Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action expressed sadness over the fact that mining, contrary to development and ambition of the Mining Road Map of the Ministry of Mines endorsed by the FG and the Seven Strategic Minerals focus including coal, bitumen, limestone, iron ore, barites, gold and lead and zinc (BBC-LIGL-Zinc) is still contributing less than one per cent to our GDP at 0.3%. NEITI promised to develop a framework to expand engagement in the solid mineral sector, accordingly.

The oil and gas audit report presented by Mr George Abiye, Assistant Director, Oil and Gas, NEITI revealed the following:

– The report covered 89 companies, including the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company and 9 government agencies.

– Production in 2019 was higher than in 2018 by 4.87%.

– Total domestic sales was N2.145tn and the quantity lifted was 107.239 mmbbls of which only 2.76 mmbbls was refined locally.

– A whopping $34.22bn revenue was generated in 2019, a 4.88% increase over the $32.63 billion realized in 2018.

– NEITI revealed that Nigeria lost 42.25 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.77 billion to oil theft in 2019.

The remediation process for the reports covered Financial, Physical and Processes. A piece of key information from the reports apart from the information and data provided is its impact when the figures and revenue are properly utilised to support infrastructure, reduce poverty and build a resilient society.

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