Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that the countryâ€™s implementation of remedial issues contained in its various reports on the activities of its oil, gas, and solid minerals sectors was still weak.
The agency has therefore called for collaboration with civil society organisations working in the countryâ€™s extractive industries to change this narrative, stating that it was its responsibility to provide information and data on the sectorâ€™s operations.
NEITI noted that it is the responsibility of the civil society groups to use the same information and data to hold government and companies accountable for their actions.
According to a statement from NEITIâ€™s Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnanya Orji, in Abuja, the agencyâ€™s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio, stated this at a special workshop organised by Publish What You Pay (PWYP).
Adio stated that despite existing records indicating that Nigeria earned a total of $592.34 billion from the oil and gas sector from 1999 to 2014; and about N143.5 billion earned from the solid minerals sector of the country between 2007 and 2014, the country has yet to improve the living conditions of her citizenry.
He said the huge revenues earned by the government over the years had not significantly changed the living standards of majority of Nigerians, or impacted on the development of the countryâ€™s infrastructure base.
He identified the slow pace of implementing NEITIâ€™s industry audit findings and recommendations as one of the weakest links in EITI implementation in Nigeria and tasked PWYP to lead a robust civil society activism and engagements with relevant government agencies to implement NEITIâ€™s reports.
Adio further urged civil society groups in the country to be more vigilant and ensure that future earnings from the extractive sectors translate to national development and support poverty reduction in the country.
He also described PWYP as an important global civil society organisation with a vantage status with which it could use to lead a comprehensive advocacy to translate NEITIâ€™s reports into results capable of bringing about the desired reforms in Nigeriaâ€™s extractive sectors.
The statement explained that the duo of Ms. Asmara Klein; and Emeka Ononamadu from PWYP, promised that the coalition would continue to push for transparency in the sectors.
Klein, identified from the 2016 EITI Standard, the key areas Nigerians need to pay close attention to meet the global EITI standard, and they include, contracts and beneficial ownership disclosure; sub-national transfers; data quality and timelines; as well as mandatory social expenditures.