A CLEAN-UP of the mess in the oil and gas, and solid minerals sectors has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The project, which will cost N363 million, will be executed by two consulting firms, which have scaled the screening of FEC. It is the first time the government has engaged consultants to look into the activities of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
The audit, which covers 2009 to 2011, will be completed within nine months. The government awarded the contracts to two firms – Messrs Sada Idris & Co for oil and gas industry and Messrs Haruna Yahaya for solid minerals.
While the oil and gas industry’s audit consultancy would cost N226.613 million, the solid minerals audit consultancy contract is worth N137 million.
The cleansing of the oil and gas sector and the prosecution of Nigerians and corporate bodies topped the demand of civil rights groups during last week’s nationwide strikes, rallies, and protests against government’s removal of subsidy on petrol.
Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, told journalists at the end of the FEC meeting that the appointment of the consultants was aimed at establishing “processes and procedures, physical volumes and financial flows from the sectors, improve revenue remittances into the government’s account and enthrone competition and corporate governance.
“The industry audits will also provide relevant information and data for the government’s anti-corruption agenda. It is central to Nigeria’s compliance to the global NEITI, which the country is signatory,” he said.
Maku added that, “the audits would be carried out in major revenue generating and all revenue remitting government’s institutions in the oil and gas and solid minerals sectors from 2009 to 2011 and 2009 to 2010 in that order.
Specifically, the consultants are to carry out Nigeria’s hydrocarbon and solid mineral values.
Maku explained that the consultants “shall access the volumetric aspects of production,exports, imports, unaccounted oil and gas and solid minerals and other relevant streams.”
Although, the activities and entities involved in the petrochemical industry or processing of crude oil and gas are not within the scope of work, Maku said such activities are required to confirm their relevant stocks, receipts and inputs to the sectors. .
The consultants are expected to also provide the on and off the job training of the secretariat personnel, who would be involved in the assignment with a view to building capacity and enhancing efficiency for future audits.”
The minister said the Council commended President Goodluck Jonathan for “the maturity and statesmanship” he exhibited in handling the crisis arising from the removal of petrol subsidy. It also praised Nigerians for their exemplary behaviour during the protests.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said over N207 billion was lost by Nigeria to the strike, while inflation dropped to 10.3 per cent in December 2011
The Bureau, which gave the figures yesterday in Abuja, explained that it relied on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in computing the data.
It said inflation recorded a downward movement as the 2011 ended, from 10.5 per cent to 10.3 per cent, even as prices of food items increased sharply because of the festive season by 11 per cent
The mass transit scheme, initiated by the government, as part of the subsidy removal palliatives will be managed by the private sector, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Chief Olusegun Aganga, said.
He told journalists yesterday in Abuja that the buses would be run by the private sector while the government would provide the money as interest-free loans to the operators to ensure that passengers were not exploited.
The minister said if the transporters had gone to the banks, they would borrow the funds at 20 per cent interest rate.
He disclosed that the spare parts for the buses are available in the markets to ease the cost of maintenance by the owners.