House of Representatives to Delegate NEITI with Authority to Sanction Oil Companies and Regulators

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) has announced its intention to amend the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Act, enabling the committee to enforce penalties on entities falling under its scrutiny in the petroleum and mining sectors.

During a recent visit to NEITI, Committee Chairman Hon. Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere revealed that the amendment aims to bolster NEITI’s authority and resources in its operations.

The proposed amendment would grant NEITI the authority to take punitive measures against wrongdoers and empower the organization to probe offenses and recommend the prosecution of offenders by relevant anti-corruption agencies. The envisioned changes also encompass the power to penalize stakeholders who obstruct NEITI’s investigations or withhold requested documents. Additionally, the amendment would address obstructive behaviors from government officials hindering NEITI’s responsibilities.

Ugochinyere emphasized the inadequacy of NEITI’s current funding for its comprehensive tasks and proposed provisions to allocate a percentage of recovered funds to support NEITI’s ongoing endeavors.

Addressing the underutilized state of the nation’s refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, the committee aims to facilitate their privatization to enhance efficiency and grant the Nigerian public the benefits of localized product refining. Ugochinyere noted that prolonged discussions over the refineries have consumed resources that could have been used for constructing new ones.

NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, underscored the overdue nature of the NEITI Act’s amendment. He highlighted the importance of aligning NEITI’s operations with the Petroleum Industry Act. Dr. Orji urged legislators to ensure faithful implementation of the PIA and highlighted the necessity of addressing the delays that have arisen in enacting certain provisions of the act.

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