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NEITI audits oil funds

NEITI audits oil funds to govts, CBN, NDDC, PTDF

THE era when Federal, states, councils and organisations that benefit from allocations see oil monies as slush funds may soon be over as the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is set to audit their finances.

Signing the N140 million audit contract with SIAO, an indigenous audit and tax firm, in Abuja Wednesday, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the assignment was not a witch-hunting exercise but one that was intended to further empower the Nigerians to ask the right questions on how the resources accrued to their governments were expended for the common good.

SIAO audit partner, Mr. Abiodun Ariyibi, addressing the NEITI team

Meanwhile, an audit report on solid minerals from 2007 to 2010 by NEITI has recommended the enactment of a law that properly captures and codified the basic tax, fees and levies payments by major players in the sector.

Ahmed stated that the audit became imperative owing to the mutual suspicion and distrust that existed among the Federal, state and local council over resources allocation and utilisation.

She added: “The audit exercise will provide baseline information required for planning and development. It will help reduce friction, promote public trust and provide the public with current information and data on the basis for revenue allocation, disbursement and application.” 

She revealed that the scope of the audit would cover actual disbursements of funds accrued to the federation account from the oil and gas sector to beneficiaries such as Federal, state and local councils and relevant agencies as well as tracking actual application of the funds.

The states that get 13 per cent derivation may have some explanation to do as they are expected to provide data on knotty issues that surround the fund.

The key agencies of government that will have their books examined by the auditors include the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with respect to development of natural resources.

She added: “The exercise shall cover the Federal Government share of derivation and ecology, administration and application of excess crude oil account as well as the 13 per cent derivation allocation to states and local government councils and ecological funds, disbursements and allocations.”

The NEITI scribe hinted that the financial aspect of the 2009 – 2011 audit process, which began last year, had been concluded and that the physical and process components would be finalised in March this year.

She further disclosed that the simplification and dissemination of the solid minerals sector audit report covering 2007-2010 has started.

The report also highlighted that the federation may have lost about $456,525.20 or estimated N70, 304, 880.36 to non-payment of royalties on exported minerals within 2007 and 2010 that the audit report covered.

SOURCE: The Guardian Newspaper

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