NEITI: Women Constitute Only 18% of Workers in Nigeria’s Extractive Industry

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday decried the miserly number of women working in the extractive sector in the country, noting that a recent study showed that only 18 per cent of the female gender was represented.

Speaking at the Multi-Stakeholders Roundtable organised by Global Rights in Abuja, Executive Secretary, NEITI, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, stressed that the number fell short of minimum global standards.

The theme of this year’s roundtable was: “’Enhancing Inclusiveness – An Imperative for Promoting Transparency, Accountability, and Development in Nigeria’s Extractive Industry”.

He argued that women’s participation in mining and steel sector has become an issue of debate and advocacy globally, given the negative implications of a male-dominated extractive industry characterised by limited access for women in areas of employment opportunities, training, skills acquisition, investments and exposure to issues on managing natural resources endowments.

“For instance, the latest independent industry audit report conducted by NEITI in the oil, gas and mining sector disclosed that employment opportunities for women in the industry in Nigeria is currently too low from global average.

“From the report, 56 out of 70 companies covered had a total of 19,171 employees. 15,639 (82 per cent) were men while 3,532 (18 per cent) of the employees were women. Similarly, out of 2,325 top or high-level positions, women representation was less than 100.

“In efforts to address gender equity and inclusion, NEITI working with our global development partners, 57 member countries in our organisation, the media and civil society are committed to advancing fiscal justice and gender equity debate in extractive industries with specific focus on enhancing women participation in natural resource governance.

“To this end, NEITI has set up women/gender desk to coordinate our activities designed to put women and children issues in public consciousness,” Orji stated.

According to him, the NEITI report also showed some improvement in the solid minerals sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 0.26 per cent in 2019 to 0.63 per cent in 2021.

The figure, he said, is still very abysmal considering the potential of the solid minerals sector to act as a catalyst for economic growth and development of the country.

Speaking earlier, Executive Director Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, said that with more than 40 minerals in commercial quantities strewn across the country, paradoxically the solid mineral sector contributes less than 1 per cent to the national GDP.

According to him, more than 80 per cent of the sector (in particular artisanal mining) is unregulated and its revenue unaccounted for.

“We live with the environmental and socio-economic consequences of lax oversight, and worse still, our children will pay for them, while these minerals pave the path to economic greatness for the countries to which they are illegally ferried.

“Mining host communities inordinately bear the burden of the resource curse with seemingly little or no benefits from the wealth that is harnessed from their vicinity,” he pointed out.

He said that the meeting, the seventh part in a series of dialogues, was aimed at strengthening and increasing engagements between civil society actors and the government on solid mineral governance in Nigeria.

 The  target, he said, is that at the end of this dialogue, participants will all come to some mutual agreement on how best civil society should engage NEITI and the National Assembly to promote transparency and accountability in the solid mineral sector.

He said that this will also include finding the way forward for promoting the rights of mining host communities, and engendering Nigeria’s implementation of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and the ECOWAS Mining Directive in Nigeria.

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