The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) are to agree on data exchange, coordination, integrity, analysis management and utilization for national development.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed at the end of the meeting between the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and the Statistician General of the Federation, Adeyemi Adeniran in Abuja, showed the two agencies agreed to define rules of engagement on data sharing and management, access and deployment and as measures to strengthen the integrity of data.
The MoU would also outline areas of cooperation between NEITI and NBS on training and manpower development, improvement of information technology (IT) systems and development frameworks to enhance operational efficiency.
Also, covered by the MoU were the modalities and frameworks for the partnership and collaboration on inter-agency partnership, managing information and data on Beneficial Ownership Disclosures which is required to mitigate tax evasion, illicit financial flows, and terrorism financing, Contract Transparency- how many contracts were awarded, the standard and quality of the contracts, Gender, and Environment.
“These pieces of information are required to empower citizens with the knowledge of what number of contracts have been awarded and to which company and the ownership of the companies”. Orji said.
He said the cooperation and partnership with agencies like NBS has become necessary to ensure uniformity and standards on data dissemination, originating from the two agencies, especially at the sub-national levels, for use in Nigeria and to the outside world.
The meeting, Orj explained, was to create opportunities to discuss and agree on how NEITI can support NBS with data from the extractive industries. In contrast, NBS supports NEITI’s expansion of its operations to socio-economic development issues arising from oil, gas, and mining operations in Nigeria.
The NEITI-NBS Partnership, he noted, was coming at a time when data from NEITI’s report has been internationally acknowledged to be credible by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in its recently released report of Nigeria’s international assessment.
In the assessment, Nigeria recorded its highest score of 90 points on data integrity, comprehensiveness of report, outcomes and impacts, contribution to economic growth, and adherence to legal frameworks, a pointer to the enormous and painstaking efforts undertaken in generating the information and data contained in NEITI’s industry reports.
Orji commended NBS for its commitment to data quality and excellence.
“NEITI and NBS have overlapping mandates and should complement each other regarding extractive industry data. We believe that such partnership with NBS will allow us to produce more verifiable and credible data that would inform policy and drive reforms,” Orji said.
The Statistician-General of the Federation (SG), Adeyemi Adeniran said the NBS has been working with Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), and development partners to generate different types of data sets that are being used for economic, social, and environmental development.
The Statistician-General emphasized the unique nature of the two agencies based on their brand names, integrity, and credibility of their work. He cautioned that this must be protected at all costs because they are accountable to the Nigerian people.
“Our work requires us to imbibe the spirit of transparency and integrity so we cannot afford to do something we cannot defend”. Adeniran explained.
He urged NEITI to generate incisive data on the Solid Minerals sector just like the agency has done in the oil and gas sector.
The SG expressed the willingness of the NBS to support and collaborate with NEITI to enthrone a regime of transparency and accountability in the nation’s extractive sector.