Stakeholders in the extractive industries have approved the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2021 independent industry reports of the oil, gas and mining sectors.
The stakeholders, at a two-day meeting in Abuja, said their decision to approve the report was a result of the absence of the NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group – NSWG which was dissolved recently with other governing boards of federal government agencies and parastatals in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Deputy Director/Head Communications and Stakeholders Management, Mrs Obiageli Onuorah, the stakeholders explained that their decision to endorse the report was also consistent with the EITI global principles of implementing EITI in context and stakeholders’ ownership of the reports as a major tool for advocacy to hold the government and the companies accountable and efficient governance of Nigeria’s extractive industries.
They said their endorsement was sequel to the review of the draft report earlier shared for comments and inputs.
The civil society constituency was led by Faith Nwadishi – a former member of the EITI International Board and the NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group.
Others at the forum were Taiwo Otitolaye-National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay Nigeria and Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre.
Auwalu Musa Rafsanjani stated that the stakeholders’ decision to endorse the report was a sign of ownership of the multi-stakeholder approach in the conduct of the report, while Ms Faith Nwadishi commended NEITI’s resilience and determination in ensuring that Nigeria meets its obligations to the global EITI by releasing the reports even in the absence of its NSWG, the statement said.
Taiwo Otitolaye expressed delight that the EITI recognized the need for stakeholders to endorse and own the report in the absence of the MSG. He recommended that this approach should be embedded in the next review of the EITI Standard.
The companies were represented by Dundan Sasi of the NEITI-Companies Forum. Mr Dundan Sasi reaffirmed the commitment of the companies to the EITI principles and requirements.
He stated that the companies will continue to support the EITI process and implementation in Nigeria.
Sasi endorsed the report and demanded that the comments of the companies which have been forwarded to the IAs must be reflected.
The government agencies were led by the Ministries of Mines and Steel Development and Environment, the Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Inland Revenue Service among others.
Mr Animashaun Mukaila from the NUPRC requested that though the report is approved, NEITI should ensure that it reflects all comments and observations made at the review meeting.
Approving the report, the stakeholders demanded that NEITI must reflect and incorporate the views expressed at the meeting.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji in his remarks, explained that the global EITI gave NEITI the waiver to seek the approval of its multi-stakeholders to release the NEITI report in the absence of the agency’s statutory National Stakeholders’ Working Group (The Board).
He stated that the stakeholders’ comments helped to shape the content and structure of the reports.
The reports were shared with over 60 civil society organisations working in the extractive sector in Nigeria, the NEITI -Companies’ Forum and relevant government agencies. Comments were received from the three constituencies.
The objectives of the NEITI 2021 industry reports according to the Executive Secretary were to “Establish the quantities of minerals produced and utilized in the country, revenues earned from the sectors and how much of that revenues were remitted into government coffers”.
The “NEITI reports were to also identify what investments were made by the federal government in the oil, gas, and mining sector as well as track subsidy payments, and other financial liabilities to the covered entities.
Orji told the audience that the immediate next priorities of NEITI are to “release the approved 2020-2021 oil, gas and mining reports and the 2020-2021 fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement report; complete the conduct of the 2022-2023 industry reports of the oil, gas and mining sectors; commission the study to determine the quantity of premium motor spirit (PMS) consumption by Nigerians as well as the utilization of the 13 per cent derivation by the oil-producing states.
With the approval of the NEITI 2021 industry reports, NEITI has hitherto conducted a total of 14 cycles of reconciliatory reports in the oil and gas sector and twelve cycles of reports in the solid minerals sector.
The independent administrators Messrs Taju Audu & Co and Amedu Onekpe conducted the NEITI 2021 oil, gas and solid minerals reports respectively and presented highlights of the reports to the stakeholders.