Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Corruption issues in the oil and gas sector can be fixed if the national assembly steps up its oversight functions

OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI), a legislative interface platform, has asked the national assembly to step up its oversight on the country's oil and gas sector.

In a statement on Monday, Oke Epia, executive director of OAI, said the federal lawmakers could achieve this by engaging the audits carried out by the Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Epia lamented that previous NEITI reports laid before the national assembly as required by statutes have received little or no attention.

"The reports contain germane recommendations which when implemented can fix issues of corruption and other yawning gaps that have denied Nigerians the benefit of her huge petroleum resources for decades," he said.

"The 2016 NEITI oil nand gas audit put the total financial flows including crude oil sales, taxes, royalties and other income into the federation, other tiers of government and sub-national entities at $17.055 billion."

According to him, some of the recommendations in the report have not been implemented.

"The remediation of financial, physical and process gaps identified in NEITI audits have continued to be a major drag in the governance of the oil and gas sector and this is one core responsibility the current National Assembly must take up with all alacrity and consistency to restore transparency and accountability," he said.

The executive director said his organisation is set to roll out a purpose-built civic technology tool called RemTrack which will simplify the NEITI audit reports and stimulate massive citizen participation in the extractive sector.

"RemTrack, which has been developed in collaboration with the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC) of NEITI, will not only encourage informed citizen participation but also advance the performance of legislative oversight over the sector," Epia said.

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