NEITI, Auditors brainstorm on audit of NEITI accounts

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is now set to meet with the appointed auditors for the proposed audit of all revenues and disbursements of allocated funds to entities involved in the extractive industries.

The meeting according to the organizers is aimed at determining the actual take off date of the exercise and the agencies that will be covered during the first phase of the exercise nationwide.

Vanguard gathered that the meeting between the NEITI and the auditors will either be held on today in Abuja, during which all pending issues on the exercise which will span nine months would be considered and decisions taken on them. The meeting it was gathered had would award the contract by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its November 28, 2012 meeting.

It was also gathered that a top level management meeting between the two parties to the deal was convened to avoid any further prevarications on the audit which, in addition to the oil and gas activities, will cover major agencies in the extractive industrial sector including, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Federal Government of Nigeria’s share of Derivation and Ecology Fund and the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

Others that will also be covered by the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit spanning from 2007 to 2011 are Tertiary Education Fund (TetFund), Central Bank of Nigeria (Development of Natural Resources) and the Administration and Application of Excess Crude Oil Account.

“Presidency is determined to ensure that transparency and accountability become the rule of all financial and operational modalities in the extractive industries, hence the approval of FEC that the five year audit should be embarked upon without further delay.

”As you know, the contract has been awarded for the auditors to commence the audit. So what they are doing now is to agree with NEITI as to how the exercise will be conducted. Let me also say that contrary to the much publicized reports in the media that the audit is mainly to focus on oil and gas alone.

“It is an all-embracing exercise that will cover all the agencies that have one or two thing to do with funds derivable from the sector and disbursed  to all agencies or institutions that have benefitted from such allocations and disbursements”, said an anonymous source from the Presidency and the NEITI.

“While not totally forthcoming with the exact date of the proposed meeting scheduled for Abuja this week, the source explained that “meetings between NEITI and the auditors will be an ongoing thing as far as the exercise goes on and until it is concluded. This is necessary in order to get things properly done and achieve the purpose of the audit. Yes, I understand that they are planning to meet this week but the exact date I cannot confirm now,” added the source.

It would be recalled that some stakeholders, particularly community leaders in six states of the Niger Delta region, have over the past weeks lauded the Federal Government for appointing auditors to look into the allocations and disbursements of the extractive industries which, they pointed out, would help in  determining how the funds had been utilized by the their states.

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