Enhancing Transparency in Extractive Sector

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When it comes to promoting transparency and accountability in the handling of payments from extractive industries to the government, as well as the revenue received by governments and other designated recipients, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is topping the list.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) recently held its third NEITI-Companies Forum, which centred on the theme, ‘Deepening and Strengthening Engagement in Nigeria’s Extractive Sector.’

The forum was attended by key players in the oil, gas, and solid minerals sectors, and was facilitated by the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), the industry’s umbrella body. The main objective of the forum is to provide companies with insights into NEITI’s activities, offer a platform for inquiries and clarifications on industry related issues. help operators comprehend the implications of their involvement with NEITI, both on the global corporate reputation, and investment decisions for their companies.

As the Nigerian arm of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), NEITI was established to champion transparency and accountability in managing payments made by extractive industries to the government as well as revenue received by various statutory recipients. The NEITI Act of 2007 solidified the initiative’s implementation in Nigeria; making the country the first globally to support EITI with legislation.

EITI, an international multi-stakeholder establishment, promotes transparency and accountability in resource-rich countries’ oil, gas, and mining sectors. To achieve EITI compliance, participating nations must adhere to a set of standards governing reporting quality, and the multi-stakeholder process used in report creation must be verified through a validation process.

In 2013, EITI expanded its scope to require disclosure of information throughout the decision-making chain, going beyond its previous focus, which is solely on revenues paid to the national government.

Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, emphasised that the agency serves as a vital tool for promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance in various sectors; adding that as a member of 67 countries, the information generated within the agency is shared globally.

Expressing the significance of the forum, Orji said that it should have provided an opportunity for participants to stay informed about the agency’s recent 2021 reports. Also, it was meant to serve as a platform to discuss opportunities and challenges in the sector, focusing on enhancing the involvement of the OPTS, miners association, and other companies.

Due to a low turnout at the forum, the executive secretary proposed another gathering in the first quarter of this year; anticipating a better attendance. Orji underscored the forum’s role in decision-making, and stressed the importance of active participation from those capable of influencing their companies. He therefore urged stakeholders to disseminate the message that the forum is still active, and will gather again for a more robust discussion.

Acknowledging challenges posed by changes in leadership within International Oil Companies (IOCs), Mr. Orji pointed out the need for formalised suggestions and outlined plans for extensive training programs, and emphasised the agency’s dedication to coordinate with stakeholders, including the OPTS, to ensure the forum represents a unified voice for industry-wide EITI implementation in Nigeria.

He expressed his gratitude to cooperating companies so far, and assured them that their suggestions will be taken seriously, while emphasising the importance of self-education in the industry, and urged individuals to be proactive in seeking knowledge about their sectors.

The Executive Director, Gwueke Ajaifia, confirmed that the forthcoming forum will witness substantial attendance; emphasising NEITI’s significance for everyone in the industry. Ajaifia stressed the importance of data and information in societal growth; underlining NEITI’s potential to shape a mindset conducive to proper planning.

He also emphasised the importance of ensuring that the data gotten is quality, as erroneous data could lead to misguided decisions.

Ajaifia further urged industry stakeholders to actively engage in fora like NEITI’s, especially considering the oil and gas sector’s crucial role in providing foreign exchange for the country.

The Executive Director also acknowledged the role of the EITI in building confidence among host communities, operators, and the government, stressing the importance of collaboration between companies, civil societies, and the government in order to create a balanced and effective platform.

Inin welcome address, the Executive Director and Chairman of the industry forum highlighted OPTS’s commitment to transparency and accountability principles, aligning with NEITI’s objectives. He assured OPTS’s support in raising awareness, addressing concerns, and improving the accuracy of/in industry reporting.

The OPTS director pledged to collaborate with NEITI to enhance communication and collectively address challenges, even as he recognised the need for collective action. He re-affirmed the importance of self-promotion and brainstorming to reinforce the industry’s positive image, and foster a more collaborative relationship with NEITI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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