The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is developing a new five-year strategic plan to take care of emerging issues in the petroleum industry affecting its mandate, the Executive Secretary of the transparency agency, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, has said.
Orji said at a one-day stakeholders consultative forum in Abuja that the exercise was also to seek inputs to the process to formulate a strategy to regulate NEITI’s operations in the next five years.
He said the existing strategic plan developed to direct the course of the agency’s programmes and activities between 2017 and 2021 would soon expire come December this year.
The current strategic plan, he said, was adopted to enable NEITI shape extractive sector operations and overall governance reforms through policy engagements, leadership and inter-agency coordination, deepen openness in the sector and strengthen demand for accountability.
The process to develop a new plan, which began in June this year, the NEITI Executive Secretary said, has become more urgent now in view of the evolving process of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the recent enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the ongoing review of the NEITI Act in the National Assembly.
“The implementation of the global EITI principles has evolved over the years to include gender mainstreaming, energy transition, beneficial ownership, contract transparency and environmental protection and development all of which need to be captured in the new strategic plan.
“How NEITI process can help address some of these issues and bridge the revenue gaps, in view of the current economic reality Nigeria is experiencing, has made the development of the new strategic plan critical,” Orji said.
NEITI, he said, hopes to launch the new plan by November this year and commence its implementation by January 2022.
Until the country’s hydrocarbon resources could be used to holistically better the lives of Nigerians, Orji said NEITI’s job was far from being done.
NEITI’s Director Policy Planning and Strategy, Donald Tyoachimin, who presented the 2017-2021 strategic plan diagnostic report as well as the 2022-2026 strategic plan, underscored the need for a new plan due to the changing concepts and reforms globally, nationally and within the industry.
Tyoachimin, who is also the Chairman of the strategic plan committee, explained that membership of the committee was made up of 10 drawn internally and externally.
Findings from the review of the 2017-2022 plan, he said, revealed funding constraints , inadequate engagement at the sub-national and local levels, remediation issues, and disproportionate attention on oil and gas, among others, as major gaps the new plan seeks to redress.
Participants at the meeting included civil society organizations, representatives of the media as well as private sector and relevant government agencies.