The recently constituted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) Implementation Steering Committee has been enlarged by one, with the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari of the appointment of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) into the committee.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, conveyed news of the appointment by the President to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji on Monday.
Mustapha quoted the President as saying that the imperative of including NEITI into the Committee was informed by the need to utilize the agency’s independent and reliable knowledge, information, and data to help the committee align the implementation of the Act with emerging global issues in the sector as expected.
The President said NEITI would also work with the committee to put in place sustainable systems and processes for institutions that would emerge under the Act.
NEITI is also expected to work with the committee to lay a solid foundation for a culture of good governance and open a new era for the industry.
In approving NEITI’s inclusion, President Buhari further extolled the contributions of the transparency agency, particularly for using its independent industry audit reports to facilitate successful implementation of the administration’s anti-corruption reforms in the oil, gas and mining industries.
The agency, the President noted, has also advanced the economic development policies of his administration and helped Nigeria to continue to meet the expectations of the international community, especially the 55 member countries of the global EITI.
In his reaction to the appointment, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji applauded the President’s consideration to include NEITI into the PIA Committee.
“It is the right step in the right direction, considering the mandate of NEITI and its objectives, its pivotal roles in the ongoing reforms and strategic importance to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry,” Orji said.
“We commend Mr. President for his insight and foresight. The Inclusion of NEITI in this committee will provide the platform for our agency to bring in EITI standards and work with sister agencies in the committee to design a workable, result-based implementation plan for industry-wide use. It’s a good platform and another window, which NEITI appreciates”.
Orji explained that some of the new requirements of the global EITI on contract transparency and beneficial ownership are captured in the PIA.
“NEITI’s membership of the committee will provide an opportunity for close monitoring of these issues right from the beginning of the PIA’s implementation”, he added.
“NEITI currently ensures that revenue payments to the Federation from all extractive sources are properly assessed, remitted and tracked. It also ensures that entities are held accountable on the deployment and application of these revenues for the benefit of the citizens. It is no surprise then, that the President considers NEITI as an integral member of the PIA Committee.”
The nine-member Steering Committee is headed by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, with NEITI as an institutional member.
Other members include the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources; the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation; the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Senior Special Assistant to the President on natural resources, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and the Executive Secretary of NEITI.
At the inauguration of the committee, the President said the primary responsibility of the Steering Committee would be to guide the effective and timely implementation of the PIA and ensure that the new institutions to be created have the full capability to deliver on their mandate under the new legislation.