The recovery of $3 billion debts from the nation’s oil industry by the current administration is a victory for transparency, accountability and good governance, which have been the hallmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over the last five years.
This is the verdict of the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), in appreciation of recorded gains in the country’s oil sector, following a recent report by the World Bank and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (EITI), commending government’s improvement in the oil sector. EITI, is responsible for the global standard promotion of openness in the oil, gas and mineral resources management.
This improvement, according to the report, has created an enabler for the huge recovery of $3 billion in outstanding debts in the oil sector, a feat attributed to the Nigerian Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI) through the stringent application of more transparent and accountability procedures in regulating the oil industry. The report also revealed that another potential $20 billion in oil revenues could still be retrieved.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said this kind of unique achievement in the nation’s oil sector is not ordinary, given the historical opacity and opaqueness that have clouded the industry over the past years, and that this latest good news is capable of engendering confidence in the crisis-ridden industry and attract both local and foreign investments now and in the nearest future.
BMO commended President Muhammadu Buhari “for his integrity, quality and transparent leadership which made this feat possible, and his strong determination and commitment to remain resolute in halting the pillage of the economy by corrupt public officials, through strict observance of transparency and accountability in all government dealings and transactions, aimed at strengthening governance structure across all levels.
“With the numerous reforms going on in the nation’s oil sector and the President’s strong commitment to putting an end, once and for all, to all shady deals that have characterised the oil industry over the years, we believe that more outstanding oil revenue debts would be recovered in no distant time”.
According to the group, “what is obvious is that President Buhari is working to strengthen the oil sector through transparency and accountability, and also working assiduously to diversify the economy. His administration has continued investing heavily in the range of billions of dollars in agriculture, power, and other sectors of the economy through the provision of various funding supports”.
BMO, however, pointed out that the gross mismanagement of the economy and diversion of oil resources by corrupt public officials during the wasteful 16 years of the People’s Democratic Congress(PDP) had created a crisis of confidence, leading to the slow pace of investments in the oil sector, thereby hampering both economic and social development.
“It is worthy of note that this is the first time Nigerians are witnessing some level of transparency, accountability and tremendous improvement in the oil and other sectors of the economy since our return to democracy in 1999. With this report, Nigeria now ranks eighth among EITI’s 53 member countries on the implementation of the transparency guide.
“We believe that this is a huge score for the Federal Government, given the historical opacity that has clouded NEITI and other relevant agencies in the oil industry in the past. This would not have been possible but for the responsible leadership demonstrated so far by Mr. President.
“At this point, we want to commend NEITI for working hard to release prompt reports on the extractive industries, including the one on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which succeeded in drawing the attention of the Nigerian authorities”
BMO also commended NNPC’s efforts in strengthening collaboration among relevant agencies in the oil sector, citing its collaboration with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive industries.
“It is said that with the transparency policy of the Buhari administration, NNPC now regularly publishes its monthly report, a departure from its acute opaqueness and flouting of all transparency processes under the PDP administration”.
BMO, therefore, assured Nigerians that President Buhari would continue to provide responsible leadership and support to all government agencies involved in efforts to improving the oil sector and other sectors of the economy.
The Pro-Buhari group also called on Nigerians to support ongoing reforms by the government in various sectors of the economy capable of creating an opportunity for government to generate enough funds to boost the infrastructural development in the country.