President Goodluck Jonathan has commended the performance of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), since its establishment in 2003.
Receiving members of the board and management of NEITI led by the Chairman, Ledum Mitee, at the State House, Abuja, Monday, the president particularly lauded the body for bringing international honour to the country when Nigeria was adjudged the best Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), implementing country in the world and given an award at the global EITI conference in Sydney, Australia.
A statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, to the President, Jonathan also expressed delight at the detection of some potential revenue-losing sectors of the economy by NEITI and its recommendations on how to tackle the issue of oil theft.
“NEITI is not just a watchdog organization but one playing a critical role in the economy with additional responsibilities,” he noted, adding that other countries would soon want to learn from the exemplary performance of NEITI.
Jonathan, who pledged that government would re-examine the law setting up NEITI in order to strengthen it, said the issues of funding and gaps in synergy between NEITI and certain major government bodies would soon be addressed with the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT), which would also see to the “proper integration of NEITI into the economic agenda of government.”
Mr. Letum earlier in his address, noted that “in spite of the origins of NEITI in the international EITI movement, the decision by Nigeria not only to voluntarily sign on to the global initiative but also to support its implementation in the country with a specific law in 2007, was a deliberate one in pursuit of its larger economic reforms agenda.”
According to Letum, the transparency of the Jonathan administration went a long way in winning the Sydney award for Nigeria, stressing that NEITI “exists more for the purposes of helping to remedy identified gaps in the revenue drive of government and not just fault-finding.”
He also indicated the readiness of NEITI to extend its operations to the states.