Imoke Urges NEITI To Create Awareness Of Its Functions

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Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has enjoined the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to publicize its activities in view of its relevance to the nation’s economy.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s Workshop on the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit (2007-2011) in Calabar, Imoke, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Mike Aniah, said the call became necessary because currently, there is no adequate information about its activities.

Imoke noted that the formation of the initiative by the Federal Government is a way of ensuring good governance through good leadership and added that the body is saddled with a huge responsibility of reviewing its function with the hope of creating a difference in the system.

He reasoned that in a nation where more than 90 percent of its revenue is derived from gas/oil and natural resources, there is need for states to make their inputs and see how their revenue could improve for the benefit of the people.

The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Larry Odey, in a goodwill message, said members of the House were in support of the initiative as the House has enacted many laws on revenue, which fall within the concept of its work.

Odey said the agency’s functions calls for prudent and proper management of resources to ensure good governance, adding that the State is working in tandem with the concept of the initiative because of its enormous powers.

He stressed that it takes both transparency and accountability to take Nigeria to another level, bearing in mind what is disbursed and applied to stimulate its economy, while urging participants to use their ability to create a difference in the country.

The NEITI chairman, Mr. Ledun Mitee, in a keynote address, appealed to participants to fully embrace the initiative that is in fulfillment of its statutory mandate under section 2 of the NEITI Act, 2007, which requires the agency to conduct validation exercises to ensure transparency and accountability by Government in the allocation, disbursement and application of revenues earned from oil, gas and mining sectors.

Mitee stated that the workshop would focus on fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement of the extractive industries revenue from the federation account to the three tiers of Government, adding that other agencies of Government that directly receive allocations from the account are also covered by the agency in line with Nigeria’s membership of the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

He assured that the agency was set up to work with the tiers and levels of Government to turn its opportunity into impacts in the lives of the people.

A member of the NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) and a one-time Commissioner in the State, Mr. Bassey Ekefre, explained that the agency is made of gas/oil and other natural resources and has recovered $1.9 million and has been able to effectively audit and sensitize the activities of extractive industries.

The workshop is expected to X-ray and come up with the actual disbursement of revenue generation from extractive industries and also afford opportunity for stakeholders to outline the amount of their activities.