NEITI Seeks Review Of Law To Tackle Illicit Financial Flows
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has begun consultations with the National Assembly to strengthen the law setting up the agency to tackle issues of actual ownership of assets in the oil and gas industry.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, said yesterday when a team from the House of Representatives, led by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources, Mr. Preye Oseke, visited the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, that the war on terrorism financing and graft could be won by a review of extant legislation.
Orji added that as an organisation saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that revenues accruing to the government are fully remitted, there was an ongoing in-house review of the proposed legislation before it will get to the National Assembly for deliberation.
He said: “We are moving to the issue of beneficial ownership to track illicit financial flows, to track financing terrorism and then financial malfeasance, which leads to capital flight because our laws need to be strengthened in those areas.”
He identified one of the challenges facing the government as mobilising revenue to finance national social infrastructure. Orji pledged that NEITI will continue to support the authorities to ensure revenue growth.
With the work embarked upon by the organisation, Orji stated that in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will continue to see the impact in terms of the building of roads, railways, education funding and security.
“Our job is to ensure that revenues accruing to the government come to the government without any hindrance and therefore we are working with all agencies to help close the gap in oil theft, crude theft, in terms of remittances to government and in terms of efficient utilisation,” he added.
He expressed delight at the growing trust between the National Assembly and NEITI, including on the issue of accommodation for the organisation, which is receiving attention.
In his remarks, Oseke described the interactive session as educative, saying that the collaboration will ensure that public finances are managed transparently
“The extractive industries give us up to 80 to 90 per cent of our foreign exchange revenue, hence it is important for the National Assembly to always work with NEITI to get the results for the objectives that they have set out to achieve,” he said.
He stated that reviewing the laws setting up NEITI won’t be a tedious task since there’s already a framework, which would require just a few amendments to expand the scope.
“It won’t be a bill that will come to the parliament and lie there. We all want transparency in the extractive industries and I can tell you that we will approach it with all the speed it deserves for the good of our country,” he added.