FASD A Great Tool For Tracking Accountability In The Natural Resource Revenue

Miss Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director, Koyenum Immalah, former National Coordinator Publish What You Pay-Nigeria (PWYP)

FASD A Great Tool For Tracking Accountability In The Natural Resource Revenue

Miss Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director, Koyenum Immalah, former National Coordinator Publish What You Pay-Nigeria (PWYP) and currently CSO Representative at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Board, affirms that the Allocation and Statutory Disbursement FASD is a tool designed to ensure greater accountability in the extractive sector by helping citizens and CSOs track expenditures from the oil, gas, and solid minerals revenue.

In this interview with Mr. Audu Liberty Oseni, the editor “Extracting Accountability” she speaks on the importance of FASD. Extract:

Q: what do you think is behind Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement FASD and what potentials does it have for CSOs working in the extractive sector?

R: FASD is required in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act, and because of that it is mandatory that FASD audit is done. For years, NEITI couldn’t do that for some reasons. (1) Because of budget constraint (2) others boss before now did not see it as a priority. I was privileged to be a member of the board that took a decision to do the FASD audit.

For so long we have been looking at revenue and paying less attention to the expenditure. The board identified expenditure as one of the key areas that ought to be looked into.

In the audit report, we found that Nigeria was the first country in the (EITI) community to have done FASD audit. And at the moment, no other country has done that.

The FASD audit mainly was to look at the agencies of government benefitting from the oil and gas sector revenue. There was a time we did analysis of oil, gas and solid minerals revenue, we found that solid minerals revenues is less than 0.3% and that of oil and gas is over 90%.

If you look at Nigeria, you will see that there is no sector that is not benefitting from the oil and gas revenue, if you look at the budget, over 80% of it is funded from oil and gas revenue. Thus, we had to narrow it down specifically on the 13% derivation.

Under my leadership as the National Coordinator Publish What You Pay-Nigeria, with technical support from NEITI, we disseminated the audit report in Delta, Imo and Akwa-Ibom states.

Unfortunately, FASD has not been given much awareness from the CSOs. We did the dissemination primarily to create awareness among the people that the expenditure is as important as revenue.

Everybody talks about revenue, while nobody pays attention to the expenditure. Thus, if you want to monitor accountability in the extractive sector, it is simple, go pick up the FASD audit report.

Q: Having done the dissemination, what message did you pass to the people and how did they receive it, are there other opportunities for engagement?

R: besides the dissemination we did, it is what ought to happen continuously across all the states and local governments. In choosing the states, we looked at all the nine Niger-Delta states; although the auditors that did the work went beyond the identified states and included Lagos and Kano because of the volume of the expenditure that goes to them. Gombe was also included primarily because the current Governor was representing Nigeria at the EITI board, thus we needed to look at his state and see what they were doing with the revenues they were getting from the extractive industry.

Part of what we said to people was, this is what they are doing with your money, this is what has happened and they are not asking questions, if you do not have access to the budget, this is a very good tool for you to look at and know what has happened.

At that time, we discovered that some states did not have any budgetary allocation for education and health. And that showed the priorities of those states and you would want to use what they have spent in different sectors to measure what they actually prioritize.

When you look at the way they have spent monies, citizens can now know what the state priorities are. For instance, Natural Resource Fund took monies meant for the development of natural resources and gave as loans to Ghana and São Tomé and Príncipe.

There are areas we have agencies that have duplicated projects, and many implemented projects without a proper fund utilization.

Q: what is your recommendation on getting the government accountable using FASD and NEITI report audit?

R: government should first and foremost recognize that NEITI is an agency it set up and takes it more seriously, when NEITI releases its reports government needs to set up a panel to verify facts and act on them.

It is important that NEITI is properly funded to do its mandate, if you don’t fund it, there is no way it can discharge its mandate.

Q: What is your take about Africa Mining Vision?

R: We have concentrated much emphasis on what happens in America and Europe forgotten that there are good initiatives from Africa. For instance, African Mining Vision is as strong as any law you can find anywhere, but you don’t see African government promoting it. If we implement it effectively, Africa will be a leading example in fighting corruption in the extractive industry.

Q: Do you think the CSOs are effectively represented in the global EITI process?

R: at the CSOs level, we are 10 members on the EITI board; looking at the EITI global composition, everybody is equally represented. At the CSOs we have five full members and five alternate (deputy) members making it 10 members.