The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), has commended the decision of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to make public its audited accounts  on its website.

NEITI gave the commendation in a statement signed by its Director of Communications, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Reports states that the NNPC’s 2018 Audited Financial Statement currently published was the first in a long while.

“NEITI acknowledges that this historic development fulfills a pledge made by the GMD of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, to the management of NEITI at a meeting on Aug. 6, 2019.

“Kyari reiterated the pledge on Nov. 25, 2019 during the official visit to Nigeria of Mr Mark Robinson, the Executive Director of the global EITI.

“During the August 2019 advocacy meeting, the NEITI management had urged the then new GMD of NNPC to consider demonstrating his espoused commitment to transparency by making public the corporation’s audited accounts.

“Kyari acceded to the rerequest,” he said.

He quoted the Executive of NEITI, Waziri Adio, as saying that the publication was a welcome development.

“We welcome the eventual fulfilment of this important pledge and obligation.

“Given NNPC’s antecedents and its prominent role in the sector and country, the publication of its audited accounts is positive, signaling more openness for the oil and gas sector and for Nigeria.

“When combined with the monthly reports that NNPC started publishing in 2016, this development marks a sea-change for a national oil company that used to be renowned for opacity

“We urge NNPC to make this a routine practice and to mainstream transparency into all facets of its operations,” Adio said in the statement.

He called on NNPC to go further by publishing its previous audited accounts and in open data formats so that the reports can be more accessible to citizens who are the shareholders of the corporation.

He also urged NNPC to strengthen and sustain its commitment to data mainstreaming and systemic disclosure.

He noted that NEITI was working closely with the NNPC in this direction through a joint committee on remediation and mainstreaming.

The committee, he said, was set up by the two organisations and tasked with the responsibilities of examining the status of legacy and other lingering issues about NNPC in NEITI’s reports over the years.

The committee was also to recommend workable strategies for resolving the issues, he added.

According to him, the committee is also charged to devise action plans on systematic disclosure of information on NNPC’s operations in an open and accessible format, as well as data mainstreaming, among others.

The work of the NEITI-NNPC joint committee on addressing the remedial issues is already at an advanced stage and the report will be made public very soon.

“We do not want to be the only entity talking about and practising transparency.

“There is little use being an island of transparency. Our goal is for all our stakeholders to believe in and model transparency.

“To demonstrate our commitment to this new way of working, we are engaging with all covered entities bilaterally and collectively on outstanding issues and how we can further push the boundaries of openness.” he added.