A World Bank report says that Nigeria has the opportunity of retrieving yet about $20 billion in revenue if adequate transparency is applied in the oil and gas sector. The World Bank and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the global standard for the promotion of openness in the oil, gas and mineral resources management, said in a joint account that Nigeria has so far recovered about $3 billion as a result of transparency.
A report released by the World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund and EITI, last week end, said through the work being done by the NEITI, additional revenues bout $20 billion in revenues could still be retrieved.
The World Bank report affirmed that that Nigeria had indeed made satisfactory progress in implementing the EITI standard, adding that Nigeria remains one of the eight countries that achieved this assessment, among the EITI’s 53 member countries.
“Reports, policy briefs and other knowledge products published by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have been a catalyst for ongoing reforms and have helped the country to identify about $20 billion in recoverable revenues, and to recover approximately $3 billion into government coffers to date,” the global bodies stated.
The Nigeria’s oil sector regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has released its strategic plan and policy for the survival and success of the industry post-COVID-19. Acknowledging that the country still faces developmental issues, including the need to reduce economic dependence on oil and rebuild social infrastructure, both organisations, however, the DPR noted that the country has made improvements in the administration of the oil sector.
Having enacted the Nigeria EITI Act in 2007, the World Bank publication noted that though there’s still much work to do, the country has made some progress in terms of reducing the opacity in the extractive industries. “Previously, the industry was opaque, with little reliable public information on production levels, crude oil losses, government investment in the upstream projects or downstream information.
“The EITI in Nigeria encountered some initial hurdles in publishing accurate and timely reports on key sector data, such as production, revenues and governance processes. Some reports were delayed by several years, meaning that those who could hold the state accountable for oil revenues – such as investors, companies, civil society organisations and the media – received data only several years after the reporting period.
“With the help of the World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support Trust Fund, NEITI has now succeeded in producing its reports in a much more timely and efficient manner,” the report stated.
“A 2017 policy brief on unremitted funds highlighted more than $20 billion, which the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), should have contributed to government revenues, highlighting the urgent need for oil sector reform.
The brief received widespread attention, generated a national dialogue and caught the attention of decision-makers.
Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja