NEITI Seeks Power To Double Monetary Penalty On Oil Companies | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NEITI Seeks Power To Double Monetary Penalty On Oil Companies

Posted: Sep 19, 2015 at 12:14 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is seeking an amendment to its laws that would allow it double civil money penalty on mining, oil and gas companies for providing false information regarding volumes of production, sales and income.

NEITI’s Director Legal, Peter Ogbobine who presented an overview of proposed amendments to the NEITI Act 2007 to a round table in Abuja explained limiting civil sanctions to about N20million was inadequate given the value of transactions involved in the oil and gas industry.

Ogbobine who proposed 12 areas of amendment, said though NEITI has broken new grounds and brought more transparency to the extractive sector, the desired end of accountability has not been significantly achieved.

NEITI admitted that poor funding from federal government has greatly hindered its operation, and therefore sought amendment to its enabling laws that allows it to retain five percent of monies recovered from oil companies due to findings of its audit report of the sector.

It also proposed that five percent of monies accruing to Natural Resources Development Fund should be made available to it.

But reacting to the presentation, the chairman of the occasion and former Senate Committee on Public Accounts Chairman, Ahmed Lawan said NEITI must seek more realistic source of funding for its activities.

Lawan noted that though NEITI needed additional funding, seeking for five percent of Natural Resources Development Fund may not be achievable.

According to him, in 2012 the Natural Resource Development Fund had N870billion in its account but the 7th Senate last year discovered that over N700billion had been misapplied.

“I am of the opinion that NEITI should have more fund based on what it is doing. Very soon oil companies will comply so funding from collections is not what you can rely on.

“I submit you can have more fund from Natural Resources Development Fund account was N870billion but over N700billion was misapplied. 5 percent of that fund may be considered as too much for NEITI by some people and so a lower percentage proposal may be more comfortable”, he explained.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said the organization requires more power to impose sanctions of extractive industries operators.

She however suggested that NEITI should restrict its activities to audit and leave the power to prosecute to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, noting that the job would become cumbersome if the law empowers the organization to prosecute offenders.