The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC urges the Federal Government under the leadership of the president Muhammadu Buhari to recover all revenues due to the citizens of Nigeria and expedite the implementation of recommendations made but the independent Auditors in the Annual Reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI in the past 10 years.
We note again, as always, the reminder credited to the NEITI Secretariat that about $11.6 billion (N2.32 trillion), which represents outstanding total dividends arising from loans and interest repayments from Federal Government’s investment in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), among others, is yet to be remitted into the nation’s coffers and therefore unavailable to finance development for the citizens of our ailing country.
CISLAC observes that this figure, if verified, is more than 50% of the total expenditure in the 2015 annual budget. It will also be about 10% more than the allocation for recurrent expenditure, 75% of the provision for capital allocation and about 65% of the fiscal deficit in the annual national budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
We reiterate that this state of affairs has resulted because of lack of political will in previous administrations to implement remedial action emanating from recommendations from previous NEITI audit reports which had been reinforced by the reports of several probe panels and Committees.
We recall that one of the President’s promises during the campaigns was to implement the recommendations from the NEITI reports and believe that the time to start is now. We are aware that lack of political will is what has long hindered the ability of the Inter-ministerial Task Team IMTT and the Board of the NEITI to implement these recommendations, block leakages and recover unremitted funds.
CISLAC calls on the Federal Government to empower and strengthen the IMTT to effectively carry out its mandate. It might also be necessary to review the NETI Act 2007 to strengthen sanction mechanisms which are presently weak and probably empower the NEITI Board or some other independent Body to enforce more stringent sanctions on erring stakeholders outside of the usually politicized and sluggish Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
CISLAC is aware of the ability and willingness of the NEITI to provide necessary information to assist the Federal Government in recovering these funds and therefore, there will be no need to invest precious time and resources in setting up of any more superfluous Panels to conduct any fresh probes, investigations.
We urge the Federal Government to expedite action on the recovery of all the monies due to the coffers of the Nigerian people and channel them into people oriented development as a way of ushering in the change that citizens voted for and in fulfillment of campaign promises to the teeming population of highly expectant Nigeria and demonstrate the commitment to address the cancer of corruption that has undermined our collective desire for development and good life for our citizens
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC