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NEITI, NNPC Agree On Committee To Address Issues

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), and the NNPC Limited have agreed to set up a joint committee to look into the details of the $3.3 billion loan from the African Export-Import Bank, (AfreximBank) with a view to ensuring full disclosures.

This agreement comes on the heels of pressure from the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (EITI) about the lack of transparency and accountability that shrouded the loan transaction.

The $3.3 billion was secured using crude oil production as President Bola Tinubu administration battles to shore-up the value of the Naira through increased dollar supply.

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However, while the NNPC disclosed that the loan will be defrayed with crude production, there was no disclosure about the quantity of crude oil or the duration for which the repayment will be done.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday, the executive secretary, NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji said the agreement to set up the committee with NNPC Limited was reached the a meeting between visiting delegates from the global  EITI, and top management of NNPC Limited by the Group CEO, Mele Kyari on Thursday.

The EITI delegation led by the deputy executive director, Bady Balde had expressed concerns over failure by the federal government to make full disclosures of the terms of the deal struck with AfreximBank.

Dr Orji said: “What we agreed yesterday was to have a joint committee between NEITI and NNPC on these specific issues that are of concern in the international validation report. The NNPC chief executive has accepted that and on our part we will be sending requests to put that committee in place and the committee will be working with experts from both sides and where necessary we will be relying on our international secretariat for guidance to make sure that our next reports for 2022 and 2023 that will be out on September 24 this year, details of this information will be unveiled.”

Earlier, Balde said the Nigerian government must reconstitute the board of NEITI known as the National Multi-Stakeholders Group and end political interference in the operations of NEITI.

He pointed out that Nigeria was already in breach of the global EITI Standards, warning action might be taken against the country if the situation persisted.

He noted that the NEITI Act specifies the tenure of the NEITI which must be respected.

On if Nigeria could be sanctioned for failing to reconstitute the NEITI board of NEITI, he said: “The urgency of the matter is clear but it has to be done correctly. For those reasons we did not impose a particular deadline but our main message remains this is a matter of urgency. The board has been vacant more often than not in the last three years.

“Nigeria is already in breach of the requirement (EITI Standard) because this is so foundational for EITI. The existence of the Multi-Stakeholder Group is one of the requirements to join as a member”, he declared.

 


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