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Nigerian leaders to meet anti-corruption watchdog

Jun 16 2015 17:30

Abuja - Nigeria's new leaders will meet the head of a leading global watchdog on corruption to see how billions of dollars in oil revenue leakage can be curbed.

The head of Oslo-based the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is expected to meet Nigeria's president or vice president this week, its local arm says.

Stamping out corruption was one of the main pledges of new President Muhammadu Buhari's campaign.

Oil and gas companies

Clare Short, the head of EITI, has come to see how its recommendations can be implemented and help with long-term reforms. The initiative sets global standards for openness in the natural resources industries.

The executive secretary of EITI's Nigerian arm (NEITI) said last week that over $7.5bn between 1999-2011 still needed to be recovered from oil and gas companies in Nigeria.

"The amount represents clear cases of underpayments, under-assessments of taxes, royalties, rents...which have not been adequately addressed in the past," Zainab Ahmed said.

NEITI has suggested selling the state oil company's stakes in producing joint ventures to fix its budget woes, a call echoed by many in the new administration, as well as scrapping the expensive and graft-riddled fuel subsidy.

Not been remitted

The government relies on oil sales for the bulk of its revenues but there has been little oversight of how these are handled.

Central bank governor Lamido Sanusi was sacked under former president Goodluck Jonathan after he said that up to $20bn in oil revenues between 2012 and 2013 had not been remitted to the government by the state oil company NNPC. Buhari said he would re-examine this allegation.

Ahmed also said NEITI audits showed that some $11.6bn of dividends between 1999 and 2012 from the government's investment in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company were not remitted by the state oil company.

"NNPC was unable to provide any evidence that the funds were remitted to the federation as required by law," she said.

muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  africa economy
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