• Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

    NEITI receives commendation amid rollout of two key EITI reporting frameworks


    May 17, 2023

    The achievements by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) so far have exceeded expectations of its mandate, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.

    Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at the launch of two global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reporting frameworks on Gender and Environment for Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors, said NEITI achievements were evident.

    “Beyond the core transparency and disclosure mandate,, I have also seen great and tremendous values in the NEITI’s intervention in the policy arena. This endeavour is notable in the publication of regular policy briefs, quarterly reviews and occasional papers. I, therefore, commend the agency for being consistent and progressive in discharging its mandate, and urge the management to sustain these lofty innovations to remain relevant and impactful to Nigeria’s economy and citizens,” the Minister said.

    The unveiling of the Gender and Environmental Reporting Frameworks, she noted, represents another important milestone by NEITI in its quest to develop a guide for Nigeria’s reporting obligations to the global EITI in the two areas in the oil, gas and mining sectors. 

    Apart from meeting Nigeria’s obligation to the global EITI, she said the two frameworks would facilitate the process of resolving the lingering negative impact of oil, gas and mineral exploration in host communities, as well as close the widening gender disparity in the extractive industries in the country.

    She used the occasion to call on the EITI to always consider and respect the sovereignty, peculiarities, context, uniqueness and diversities of each member’s state in the implementation of the global initiative in their respective countries, particularly during the validation exercise being conducted by the international body every three years.

    Validation exercise is conducted by the EITI by reviewing the activities of each EITI-implementing country to ensure their processes complied with its established principles and standards on transparency and accountability.

    While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering commitment to strengthening NEITI, as evident in the government’s prioritization of the agency in allocating resources to enable it to execute its role in the governance of the extractive industry, the Minister urged the incoming administration to continue to strengthen anti-corruption agencies and reform-minded institutions like NEITI in their economic policy agenda, considering its unique national and international mandates.

    .Through its regular oil, gas and mining audits, and publications of timely policy papers, she said NEITI was well-positioned to guide and shape government policies in the energy sector and contribute to robust economic and public finance management in Nigeria.

    In his welcome remarks, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbannanya Orji, restated his commitment and determination of the Board of the agency to focus more comprehensively on the content and the details of work that would impact directly, the lives of Nigerians.

    Orji said the commitment would ensure that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Nigeria delivered impactful results and energizes more reforms in the oil, gas, and mining sectors. 

    He identified some of the fast-emerging issues in the global EITI process, namely Beneficial Ownership, Contract Transparency, Gender Mainstreaming, Open Data Policy and Environmental Reporting.

    To align with the global trend, the NEITI Chief said the agency as the current chair of the Network on Contract Transparency has developed a Beneficial Ownership Portal, and launched the NEITI Audit Management System-NAMS.

    He said the two reports were direct responses to NEITI’s readiness to move into the issues of Gender and the Environment in view of the strong connection and linkage to the EITI desired impact on the lives of citizens.

    “Host communities in the country today currently face complex challenges of environmental degradation. In these host communities, the girl child, women and children suffer the most environmental degradation in terms of deprivation of their livelihood, access to farming and petty trading. 

    “In most of these communities, most of the rural dwellers are women and children. They suffer the worst health challenges arising from emissions and environmental pollution. The two reports you will launch centres on these issues,” he said.

    On the Gender framework, Orji said the report summarised the EITI’s agenda on gender inclusion to the key operational concepts of representation, participation, influence and impact giving consideration to gender inclusion.

    The report, he noted, also aligns with the EITI processes and ensures that disclosures were conducted in a manner that accommodates the interests, views, concerns, and needs of women and other groups in Nigeria’s extractive sector. 

    Apart from its interest in the issues of abuse to women and children’s rights in the Extractive Host Communities,   he said NEITI was building strong alliances with government agencies, such as NAPTIP, Ministry of Women Affairs, National Council for Women Society, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and women professional platforms, like the Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN) to enhance women participation in mining and protect the rights of our women and children, especially in the extractive host communities.

    On the environment, Orji said NEITI benchmarked the EITI 2019 Standard on environmental reporting requirements against the environmental governance in the Nigerian extractive industries.

    Other areas covered by the framework, he said, include disclosures of environmental issues, and measures to mitigate and minimize negative impact.

    On funding of its activities, Orji said the NEITI Act was currently undergoing a review in the National Assembly, to seek ways and means of augmenting government support.

    He described as a tragedy a situation where NEITI annual audit reports lead to revenue generation to sister agencies who take some percentages, while NEITI is left to walk home empty-handed.

    “The review of the NEITI Act is focused on innovations that will enable NEITI operate with less government funding and dependency and function more effectively as the watchdog of the extractive sector,” he explained.

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