The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have more work to do to sustain and deepen contract transparency implementation and beneficial ownership disclosures in the oil and gas industry, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Ogbonnaya Orji, has said.
The commitments to do more by the two agencies would enable Nigeria to meet the compliance standards required in the implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure, contract transparency, environmental reporting, gender, mainstreaming and the implementation of recommendations in the NEITI audit reports as it concerns the DPR.
Orji was speaking in Lagos at a strategic meeting with the management of the DPR led by the Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sarki Auwalu.
The NEITI Executive Secretary described the strategic meeting as productive and quite encouraging in building inter-agency confidence and trust towards realizing their respective mandates in the industry.
“We must applaud the DPR that a lot has changed, a lot is changing. But we must also acknowledge that a lot more needs to change.
“The whole essence of NEITI’s interventions is to ensure that revenues from our natural resource assets support national development and help reduce poverty”, the NEITI boss said.
Apart from the upgrade of facilities and deployment of advanced technology in the operations of the agency, Orji said it was most gratifying to note that DPR was deploying home made technologies. “It shows the human capital capacity and potentials of Nigerians when put to task. My visit has been very enlightening. We may not be there yet, but certainly there are lots of improvements”, he stated.
The Secretary of the transparency agency said NEITI’s work was
complementary to those of the regulatory agencies like the DPR in Nigeria’s extractive sector.
“We celebrate successes that agencies like the DPR have recorded because those are also NEITI’s success stories. We do not want to remain an island of transparency and efficiency, so we work with other stakeholders in the industry to bring about the needed change in the industry, Orji said.
He said his team was at the DPR to seek partnership and collaboration, to complement our efforts at building the Nigeria oil and gas industry, and to work with the DPR on all the pending issues, especially on the remedial issues, findings and recommendations in the NEITI reports.
The Executive Secretary said NEITI firmly believes that Nigeria should be able to track, monitor efficiently and measure empirically what the country produces, what it has lost to process lapses, vandalism, outright stealing and sabotage.
“We want to work with you on these issues because it is for the good of the industry and our country,” Orji said.
Citing an example with the NNPC, Orji said as a result of NEITI’s intervention, today NNPC is an EITI supporting company, disclosing information about its operations, which it had never disclosed in decades.
“That is a huge national obligation that the NNPC has embarked upon. We do not fight with them again on the pages of newspapers, because there is a closer cooperation and collaboration on what needs to be done.
“This is the area and kind of relationship we want to leverage with the DPR, which will also lessen the friction ans help us realize our respective mandates”, he said.
Describing NEITI as the needle that is needed to deflate the balloons (companies and government agencies) for a breath of fresh air on prudent natural resource management.
“However, once the balloon is opening up, there is no need to deflate it any longer”.
In his response, the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu, affirmed that the DPR and NEITI share common vision on transparency and accountability in the nation’s energy sector.
Auwalu said his team would continue to work with NEITI to close the
gaps raised in the agency’s reports of the oil and gas sector.
“Most of the foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Nigeria are in the oil and gas sector. So, the sector is very profitable and competitive and the DPR is at the centre of driving the reforms in the sector,” Auwalu said.
He said the strategic focus of his agency was to grow the nation’s crude oil reserves from its present 36.89billion barrels to 40billion barrels and the gas reserves from its present 203 trillion cubic feet to 230trillion cubic feet.
Other areas of focus are to increase the country’s production volumes, which in turn would lead to more revenue for the country, reduce cost by barrel, monetize gas by reducing flaring and optimize gas utilization as well as putting in place an integrated petroleum and gas distribution network among others.
The agency’s National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), National Petroleum Resource Optimisation Initiative (NAPROI) and Competence and Development Center (CDC) are some of the initiatives set up by the DPR to aid in crystalising its goal of promoting industry efficiency and operational excellence which the NEITI is demanding of all operators in the industry.
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