The Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on Monday in Abuja assured that the Senate would continue to support the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) through improved budgetary provision.
This information is contained in a statement issued by NEITI’s Director of Communications Orji Ogbonnaya Orji.
Orji stated that the Chairman, Senate Committee, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, gave the assurance during an oversight visit to NEITI Secretariat.
According to Alasoadura, NEITI, as a special agency of government deserves special attention by way of adequate funding to ensure effective execution of its mandate of ensuring transparency in the extractive industry.
He said that the issues raised in the NEITI’s audit reports were receiving the attention of the Senate and expressed dismay over poor funding of the agency.
He said that the Senate might need to review the law establishing NEITI to enable the agency retained a percentage of revenues recovered from the extractive companies to address the agency’s funding challenges.
He expressed satisfaction with the contributions of NEITI in the on-going reforms of the nation’s extractive industries.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio informed the committee that NEITI was currently confronted with serious financial challenges.
He said that the financial challenges was capable of hampering NEITI’s core mandate and appealed to the committee members to do everything within their powers to rescue the agency.
Adio stressed the need for a new law for the petroleum sector, noting that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was one priority area the Senate needed to pay immediate attention.
He called for a piece-meal approach to the passage of the PIB, adding that there was need for the law to have robust transparency, accountability and efficiency measures.
According to him, NEITI has a legitimate interest in the bill.
He urged the Senate to work with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that a new petroleum law was enacted and used as one of the strategies for economic recovery.
He thanked the Senate for providing the opportunity for NEITI to brief the Upper House on the findings of its 2013 oil, gas and solid minerals audit reports.