The Nigeria Extractive In
dustry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says inadequate resources and lack of political will pose major challenges to the agency’s operations.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr Waziri Adio,said this in Abuja recently.
Adio said that inadequate resources had hindered the smooth operations of NEITI and urged the Federal Government to assist the agency impact more on the economy.
“We have a number of challenges; one is that we do not have enough resources to do all the things we should be doing.
“If you remember, people accuse us that our reports do not come on time.
“Not because we don’t want to do them on time but because the resources are not enough and they do not come on time and they do not come as at when due.
“We keep engaging with government to see that this is very important, because some of the reports have also led to government recouping some money.
“Through our work government can actually access more resources and through our work government in the past had recouped some resources.
“So government should empower us more to make sure that we are able to do more and provide more value for government.’’
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Adio said lack of political will on the parts of leaders was also a major hindrance on the operations of NEITI.
“Everything rises and ends on political will, if you do not have the backing of the government of the day, there is a limit to how far you can go.
“But if you have a government that wants to do the right thing and gives you protection to do your work, then we can do much more in the interest of the country.
“And I want to believe that we have such a government in place, because this government as I said before was elected on the platform to grow the economy, fight insecurity and corruption.’’
The executive secretary said NEITI was working in line with the present administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
He said the agency was also carrying out reports to highlight ways of generating more revenue for government from the oil sector as well as taking advantage of the vast opportunities in the solid minerals sector.
Adio expressed optimism that the present administration would grant NEITI all the necessary support it requires to achieve its mandate.
He also pledged the agency’s commitment to create more value for the government by establishing reforms and avenues to recoup misappropriated moneys.
He said the agency would also assist government in sectors in need of reform to boost the economy.
Border Closure: ECOWAS Sets Up Committee To Investigate Nigeria
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has set up a committee to study and make full report on Nigeria’s land border closure with her neighbours.
The ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments agreed on the decision to set up a committee last Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at an extraordinary session of ECOWAS leaders convened on the margins of the 33rd AU Summit to discuss the issue and other pressing regional matters.
The committee is headed by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu confirmed in a statement in Abuja on Monday that Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama told journalists after a three-hour closed-door session that the meeting was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by the ECOWAS Chairman, President Mohamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic.
Onyeama said, “The President of Burkina Faso is charged with undertaking a full study of the situation, make a report and then we take it from there”.
On when the report will be presented to ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments, the minister said, “as soon as possible, there are no timelines. But he is supposed to start very quickly, study the situations from all the affected countries and present his reports”.
The statement also explained that the meeting discussed West Africa’s new single currency (Eco) and the situation in Gunnea Bissau after the presidential election.
On the Eco currency, the foreign minister said, “Nothing has changed in respect of Nigeria’s position.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
One Billion Oil Barrels Found In North-East – FG
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said on Wednesday that the nation’s oil and gas sector has worsened as the uncertain fiscal environment put a damper on investment.
The minister also disclosed that about a billion barrels of crude oil have been discovered in the North East of the country, adding that a lot of resources remained undiscovered in the country.
Sylva, who said these at a press briefing during the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit 2020 in Abuja, lamented that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill had been delayed for many years.
He, however, warned that most of the resources might have to be left in the ground if not explored and produced before the world moves away from oil.
Sylva said, “From the evaluation report we are getting, the reserves that has been discovered in the North East is about a billion barrels. And they are beginning to understand the geological structure of that area.
“If there is a lot of exploration, we believe that a lot of oil still remains to be found in Nigeria. Nigeria is not yet a mature territory; it is still very prolific.”
He expressed optimism that the PIB would be passed in six months as “there is a very cordial relationship now between the legislature and the executive.”
He said, “today Nigerians all agree that there is a need for us to pass the PIB. For so long, we have not been able to attract a lot of investment into the oil sector. By the year 2002, our oil reserves stood at around 22 billion barrels, and we were able to grow that reserves to 37 billion barrels by 2007.
“From 2007 to now, we have only been able to grow our reserves from 37 billion barrels to 37.5 billion barrels. Why? Not much investment is coming into Nigeria.”
The minister said, “I actually say we have retrogressed because some time ago, this country was producing up to 2.6 million barrels a day. And I remember a long time ago, we actually targeted that we would be producing three million barrels and by now we should have been producing up to four million barrels a day.”
The minister noted that the country’s gas reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet was found during the search for oil.
We Need Govt’s Support To Survive – Rivers Farmers
Some farmers in Rivers State have urged government at all levels to empower the local farmers, so as to increase farm produce and also generate employment for the citizenry.
The Manager of Iyako Nigerian Enterprise (a fishing firm), Mr Iyalla Ogan said the local farmers need to be assisted with grants by the government.
Ogan said that giving grants to farmers would solve many problems relating to the farming process and also generate employment for many Nigerians.
He said, “I need ocean going vessels that would catch fish in commercial quantity. This would definitely increase export and benefit the state and nation through employment generation and increase in revenue.
“Government should be supportive to farmers and not paying lip services which they never fulfill at any time”.
Ogan called on his fellow farmers to persevere and always look out for opportunities to establish their dreams, saying that “this is the only way satisfaction can come”.
Another farmer, Mrs Tonia Chukwu, who has a poultry farm at Iwofe, Rumuolumini, said that finance has been her problem over the years, lamenting that “lack of finance is responsible for lack of expansion in my firm”.
She said that elected leaders should have the interest of the electorate at heart, noting that selfishness on the part of political leaders has done more harm than good.
Meanwhile, another farmer, Mr Jonathan Amadi told The Tide that the way farmers in the South-South are treated, is different from the way Northern leaders treat their own farmers.
He called on the government to “provide modern equipment to southern farmers as they do in the North to give us a sense of belonging and help us to increase and expand like others.
“If we produce in quantity, everybody would benefit, ranging from us, the masses and government”.
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