By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: With the President Buhari’s administration promising to cut down wastes from the system, Stakeholders in the Civil Society have drawn his attention to the need for proper metering infrastructure in the oil and gas sector as a way of saving the country the huge sums of money being lost annually due to inadequate measurement of oil produce.
You will recall that audit reports by Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) shows that the industry has consistently identified inadequate metering infrastructure as a major source of revenue loss to Nigeria.
Speaking at a strategy meeting on advocacy for improving metering infrastructure in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, the Executive Director, Africa Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Otive Igbuzor called for political will, saying that if done, proper metering in the oil and gas will increase revenue currently being generated from the sector.
Mr. Igbuzor noted that with oil as the main stay of the nation’s economy, the sensible thing to do is to protect it from any form of sabotage.
“Over the years oil has been the main stay of our economy. There has been several efforts to diversify the economy up till now more than 80% of the country’s revenue come from oil. So you will expect that any sensible person will guard that resource.
“But the challenge we have with metering is that there is inadequate metering infrastructure for hydrocarbons in the country. And because of this, Nigeria is losing money daily.
Citing some reports, Igbuzor said that the country may be losing well over $5 billion dollars annually, urging the present administration to endeavour to implement the 2009 NEITI report to tackle the challenge once and for all.
“There are several estimates. There’s an estimate that Nigeria loses N2 trillion in two years. There’s another estimate of $5 billion in revenue loss to the country in one year.
“There’s a study that was conducted by NEITI eight years ago and recommendations were made on what needs to be done to improve the metering infrastructure in Nigeria. But the challenge is that up till now, nothing has been done. No implementation of that report. That is why we are raising our voice that there is the need for adequate and proper metering infrastructure for Nigeria.
He commended FOSTER for supporting a new study by NEITI and RMFAC on metering, assuring Nigerians that the civil society groups at the meeting will come up with basis for advocacy so as to be able to engage government when the report on the study is completed.
The Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER II) is a 5-year UK Department for International Development (DFID) project. The aim of the project is to improve benefits to Nigerians from oil and gas extractive activities.
On his part the consultant on the Study, Sunday Kanshio held that the study when completed will be able to ascertain how much the nation loses without adequate measurement facilities.
“Based on the study we are undertaking, we haven’t reached where we can give an accurate number of how much we are losing as a nation but like I said during the presentation, there are some estimates.
“At the moment we can’t tell you the exact amount but we can tell you that it’s significant”.
He called on DPR to wake up also to its responsibility of ensuring that oil companies abide by the guidelines and regulations governing the sector.
“Guidelines are very important but government must have the will to make the companies follow the guidelines. DPR has all the legal backing to ensure that this happens” he added.