NEITI To Digitise Audit Data Collection Process From December

New NEITI Boss, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji.

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said, it has concluded arrangements to digitalise and automate it’s audit data collection process from December 2021.

Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji disclosed this at the launch of the global Opening Extractives programme in Abuja.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that the NEITI Audit Management System (NAMS) would ensure real time delivery of information and data by the covered entities involved in the NEITI Audit exercise.

The Deputy Director/Head Communications & Advocacy, NEITI, Mrs. Obiageli Onuorah in a statement said, opening Extractives is a programme that will support Nigeria to implement reforms geared towards the disclosure of the ownership of extractive companies.

The NEITI Boss explained that “The NAMS project will transit NEITI information/data gathering process from analogue to an automated/digital process, improving efficiency in time and resources while reducing human interference and error in the audit process”.

He also stated that the NEITI 2020 Reports for the oil, gas and solid minerals have reached the final stages of completion and will be ready for release by the NEITI Board before the end of the year.

In addition, the on-going Fiscal Allocations and Statutory Disbursement Report that tracks revenues receipts and utilization in resource-rich states and statutory recipients for the period 2016 -2019 will be released next month.

Dr. Orji further explained that “establishing a publicly accessible register of beneficial owners cannot be the end to the campaign against ownership secrecy. Making the registers count through constant interrogation, update and utilization of data and information contained in these registers to demand accountability are critical to the success of this campaign. Also important is the need to constantly build the capacity of state and non-state actors that are involved in this work to enable us achieve the desired outcomes”, he emphasized.

The Chief Executive Officer of the newly created Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) Mr Gbenga Komolafe while delivering his Commission’s statement of commitment to the programme commended the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and NEITI for ensuring transparency in the extractive sector.

Mr Komolafe explained that NUPRC has created the beneficial ownership register for the oil and gas sector and will ensure compliance by all stakeholders. He promised to collaborate with NEITI in its activities to drive reforms in the extractive sector.

The Chairman NEITI Board, Mr Olusegun Adekunle noted that the NSWG was delighted over the value addition that the opening extractives will bring to bear in deepening beneficial ownership disclosures in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

According to Mr Adekunle, Opening Extractives will build public trust, public investment confidence and create a fair market environment in a manner that will help businesses to manage risk especially under the new Petroleum Industry Act regime.

He assured stakeholders that NEITI remains committed to the delivery of its mandates in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors through effective implementation of EITI Standard and the provisions of the NEITI Act 2007.

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders – government, companies, civil society, media and development partners in this direction for the benefits of our country and her citizens”. the Chairman stated.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed who delivered the keynote address and launched the Opening Extractives programme conveyed the Federal Government’s unequivocal commitment and support towards the implementation of the global Opening Extractives programme in Nigeria.

Mrs Ahmed whose speech was delivered by the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, explained that “Nigeria’s participation and strong support to the global launch of the Opening extractives has shown its determination and resolve to imbibe and implement the principles of Opening Extractives in the country.

According to her, “Opening extractives is expected to support the Nigerian government to strengthen its management of the nation’s natural resources, increase trust within the extractive sector and ensure that benefits of natural resources wealth is felt by our people.

“From the plan laid out for the programme, in the next five years, government, companies and civil society actors would have greater access to and use of comprehensive and reliable information about the ultimate owners of extractive industries facilitated through opening extractives”, the Minister stated.

Mrs Ahmed noted that “the EITI and its partners have vital role to play in supporting countries to adopt international best practices that have been benchmarked while allowing individual countries relate to their contextual realities”.

The global EITI Executive Director, Mr Mark Robinson who participated virtually told participants that enhancing beneficial ownership disclosure can contribute to strengthening natural resource governance in Nigeria in line with the government’s agenda to fight corruption, improve domestic revenues and attract investment.

He explained that the goal of Opening Extractives which is jointly implemented by the EITI and Open Ownership is to ensure that government, industry and civil society actors have greater access to reliable information on the ultimate owners of extractive companies, thus enabling stakeholders to address governance risks related to hidden ownership and to maximise revenues from the extractive industries.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Member NEITI Board, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade in the Ministry’s statement of Commitment stated that her Ministry and all the agencies under its supervision have since keyed into implementing Beneficial Ownership transparency in the mining sector which is serving as a tool for effective tax collection and domestic resource mobilisation.

Dr. Akinlade affirmed that beneficial ownership reporting is already yielding positive results with the Mining Cadastre Office recording a 150% increase in its license renewal processes between January and May 2021 alone as a result of the initiative.

Beneficial Ownership disclosures which was launched globally and domesticated today in Nigeria has the capacity to promote effective governance, tax system, tackle corruption and illicit financial flows, support fair and open markets and strengthen corporate accountability.

Currently, over a hundred and ten countries have made commitments to implement beneficial ownership transparency and over thirty countries have so far published beneficial ownership data.

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