31 January 2013

Nigeria: NEITI Begins Audit of Oil Revenue to FG, States, LGAs

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has commenced the process of auditing the revenue disbursement, fiscal allocation as well as statutory disbursement of funds from Nigeria's Excess Crude Oil Account (ECA).

The audit which is expected to be completed in nine months will also cover the ecological funds and 13 per cent derivation allocation which are shared between the country's three tiers of government.

This was stated by the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed in Abuja yesterday during the signing of the contract for the commencement of the audit by indigenous audit, tax and assurances firm, SIAO professional services.

The audit contract which was awarded at the sum of N148 million, will cover revenue allocations and disbursement between 2007 and 2011.

The audit will also cover allocations to key government agencies such as the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Ahmed explained that the audit process was not intended to witch-hunt any of the covered entities but to provide baseline information required for planning and development amongst the three tiers of government while reducing lingering frictions between parties to the funds.

The audit will seek to establish who gets what and how they get funds accrued to the Federation Account from the oil and gas sector. Special emphasis will be placed on the oil producing states and their local governments as well as the federal government take of the oil revenue.

The NEITI boss stated that the agency under Section 2 of the NEITI Act, 2007 have a responsibility of ensuring transparency and accountability by governments in the allocation, disbursement and application of revenues earned from oil, gas and mining sector.

She said "in line with this provision, the decision by NEITI to implement this part of the law is not only legal but imperative in view of the mutual suspicion and distrust that have existed among the federal, state and local governments over who gets what and how."

She explained that the approval of the audit by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in November, 2012, shows that "the governors are very clearly interested in the audit that will report on how disbursement of funds that are pooled in the Federation Account is made. They are interested in the report because there is always an allegation that states are not getting what is due to them," she said.

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