‘Regulatory agencies lack capacity to verify royalties, others’

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

Regulatory agencies in the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors lack the required capacities to verify royalties and Petroleum Profit Tax computations prepared by companies operating in the industry, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has said.

According to NEITI, this flaw by the regulators has cost the country dearly, adding that it had resulted in waste, fraud and monumental corruption.

The Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, who stated this at a workshop in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that the inefficient system of financial management, poor metering infrastructure and inadequate measurement system for crude oil production accounting were additional lapses in the industry captured by various reports released by the agency.

Adio, who was represented by the Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Donald Tyoachimi, said, “NEITI reports reveal very weighty issues, which when addressed, will significantly improve governance and revenue management in the industry.

“It also includes issues like poor institutional linkages between the technical and financial aspects of the industry. Besides, there is no clear basis for determining production volumes for royalty purposes and reliable fiscal regime.

“NEITI reports further exposed inadequate capacity of the relevant regulatory agencies to confidently verify royalty and petroleum profit tax computations prepared by companies. These deficiencies revealed by NEITI in all its audits have over the years cost the Nigerian federation dearly. They were key sources of waste, fraud and monumental corruption.”

Adio stated that a close look at the NEITI reports from 2000 to 2014 showed unremitted NLNG loans and interest repayments to the tune of $15.8bn.

He further observed that the agency was worried that the issue of the Petroleum Industry Bill and metering infrastructure in the sector, among others, had yet to be addressed.

In his address, the Chairman, Communications Committee, National Stakeholders Working Group, NEITI, Mr. Gbenga Onayiga, said the implementation of various recommendations contained in the agency’s audit reports had become a challenge to the organisation.

He said, “I wish to note that our major challenge has not been with conducting and publishing the extractive industries’ audit reports, but more on disseminating, addressing remedial issues and implementing recommendations of these audit reports.

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Source: Punch

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