OrderPaperToday – The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, has said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has the potential to change the character and structure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and introduce transparency in its operations.

Dr. Orji, at his maiden press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja, said the bill which is still at the National Assembly will help to compel the state-owned oil company to be more transparent.

He also said the bill will bring “unimaginable changes to the oil and gas sector,” stressing that “the PIB will change the nature and character of the oil sector in Nigeria.”

Orji, who replaced Mr. Waziri Adio as Executive Sevretray, said he is committed to continuity and consolidating on some of the progress made so far.

He also revealed that NEITI has changed its approach with NNPC due to positive feedback from the agency. He disclosed that the Corporation is complying with some of the recommendations of NEITI, which includes publishing of NNPC’s account recently.

He added that the dialogue approach is working, as he commended the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Kele Myari for the “positive attitude.”

He further revealed that over N69.5billion and $5.13million are yet to be remitted back to the coffers of the government by some entities, adding that “it is time to revisit the scope, depth and dimension of our reports to deliver more impacts required to address the unfolding challenges. This is why my focus will be on the implementation of the remedial issues disclosed in the reports.

“The current NEITI Management under my leadership is already evolving policies and strategies that would ensure that the recommendations in our reports are followed through and statutory recoverable revenues due to government which is put at N69.51billion and $5.31billion respectively (As revealed by the 2018 NEITI audit reports) are recovered into government coffers.

“These recoverable revenues consist of payments on oil royalty, gas royalty, gas flare penalties, petroleum profit tax, company income tax, education tax, withholding tax, value-added tax and NNDC levy. We are no longer comfortable just releasing reports. Our emphasis will be on these and other recoverable revenues due to the government while ensuring that companies are treated fairly and given the opportunity to grow.”

Dr. Orji further disclosed that NEITI will be working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other anti-graft agencies to ensure reports by NEITI make the needed impacts.

President Muhamadu Buhari on the 18th of February, 2021 approved the appointment of Dr. Orji as the Executive Secretary of the transparency agency following the end of the tenure of Waziri Adio.

Dr. Orji had met with some stakeholders, including CSOs and companies prior to the maiden media meet.

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