Chineme Okafor in Abuja
A group of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria’s extractive sectors have developed a mobile application – RemTrack.
The app can be used to track the status of missing oil monies and other issues raised in various oil and gas audit reports by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
The CSOs in a statement explained that the new approach was part of efforts to promote transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s extractives sectors.
According to the statement, the mobile app was designed and developed by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative in partnership with the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC) of the NEITI.
NEITI had in its audit of operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, raised issues of missing monies from tax evasion, under-payment, and hydrocarbon theft amongst others.
It often includes these in the list of issues for remediation by relevant government agencies. The mobile application would thus track the progress of the remediation processes.
It said the app would be presented to the public in Lagos, this week, to mark a formal commencement of public engagement of the tool.
The presentation ceremony, it added, would be performed by the Executive Secretary of the NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio.
Adio, it explained would be assisted to undertake this task by the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, and other stakeholders in the country’s extractive sector.
“RemTrack is a technology-for-development intervention built to organise the audit reports into user-friendly data on remediation issues, progress and outcomes of reconciliation, and the covered entities.
“The app is designed for android and apple devices to be used in mobile phones and other hand-held devices. RemTrack has been made available for download from the Google Play and iOS App stores respectively and also has a web interface, as well as purpose-built environment at the back-end for covered entities to interact on issues with NEITI per the audit reports,” said the statement.
It added that RemTrack would be the first -of-its-kind throughout the world conceived to foster the implementation of the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) processes in Nigeria.
According to it: “The app clearly aligns with the drive of the global body to encourage the use of data and technology to promote the key objectives of transparency and accountability in the extractives sector of all implementing countries.”
“The RemTrack app is built to be simple enough to provide easily relatable information for the ordinary user who is uninitiated in oil and gas as well for experts and industry players steep in the operations of extractives.
“In other words, while it will cover all relevant technical details for the deep minds in the sector, it also assures of functional public engagements for the general citizenry,” the statement noted.
Among several other benefits, it explained that the app would stimulate informed and healthy public engagement in the extractives sector, enhance evidence-based advocacy by civil society groups in Nigeria, provide a window of automating the NEITI audit process among covered entities, aid legislative oversight, and foster investigative journalism.
Furthermore, the statement said the unveiling of the RemTrack app would broaden the opportunities for the country’s civil society groups and citizens to track key findings and recommendations in NEITI reports, as well as the process of implementing reforms for the extractive sector.
“The ultimate objective of the RemTrack intervention is to stimulate the resolution of pending remedial issues for the sake of ensuring that the benefits of Nigeria’s huge extractives resources impact positively on the lives and living conditions of citizens,” it added.