Last week, from the 30th of July to the 1st of August, The Nigeria Extractive Industries Initiative (NEITI) held a Zonal Outreach program in Kano State.
NEITI is the Nigerian arm of a global organization known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI was established in June 2003 to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction in resource- rich countries plagued by the phenomenon of ‘resource curse;’ a syndrome where countries like Nigeria blessed with abundant natural resources have majority of the citizens wallow in abject poverty as a result of corruption, waste and mismanagement.
The underlying philosophy of the EITI is the belief that transparent and prudent management of natural resource revenue can reduce corruption, transform economies, reduce poverty, support national development in member countries and raise the living standards of the citizens.
When the present board of NEITI was appointed, together with the management, it was decided that zonal outreaches would be introduced to the six Nigerian geopolitical zones. The event that took place in Kano was the zonal outreach to the North West Zone, which covers, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kebbi states.
The purpose of the Zonal outreaches is to take the NEITI mandate, extractive sector reforms and the benefits to the geopolitical citizens. This initiative is to bridge the gap between urban and rural dwellers on EITI implementation in Nigeria and the linkage to improved governance of the sector. Previously, the Outreaches have been held in Abeokuta and Ibadan for the South West Zone, Awka and Umuahia for the South East Zone and Bauchi for the North East Zone.
The impact of the grassroots engagements that come out of the Zonal Outreaches with the citizens have resulted in the formation of community based groups to support citizens’ demands for reforms not just in the extractive sector but corporate governance in general. The Zonal Outreach that took place in Kano resulted in a robust discussion, which gave rise to the conversation of transparency and accountability in our extractive industries.
The program was well attended by members of the civil society from every state in the zone, opinion leaders, district heads, representatives of traditional rulers, students, members from accredited professional associations, local government representatives, town union executives, members of the community, NEITI and several resource personnel. The deputy governor of Kano State, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna attended the event to represent the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
At the two day event, a presentation was made by Dr Usman Muttaka from the Department of Economics, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He spoke about the Synergy between Rural and Urban CSO’s for the development of Extractive Industries in the North West Zone. Another presentation on harnessing the mineral resources in the North West was made by Professor Arabi from the Department of Geology of the Bayero University, Kano.
Even before this outing, under the management of NEITI, together with the present board, the organization has recorded some impressive achievements.
Among this is the attainment of the highest global ranking by the EITI. NEITI successfully coordinated and managed Nigeria’s validation process conducted by the global extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI) in 2018. Validation exercise by the world body is a quality assurance mechanism used to measure progress and impact of implementation. It is also an important monitoring and evaluation tool that is used to hold the 51 implementing countries of the organization to the same standards. Nigeria’s achievement through NEITI is the first by an English speaking country in the organization and one of seven countries so far highly rated in the 51 member organization.
Furthermore, there has been availability of information & data in the sector. As a result of NEITI intervention, current information and data on company revenues, payments and government receipts, crude production, liftings, exports, domestic consumption are now readily available. The NEITI independent reports of the sector available on the NEITI website(www.neiti.gov.ng)have become a reliable resource center, a major tool for advancement of citizens debate and push for reforms of the sector.
In addition, NEITI has established aFreedom of Information Portal(FOI).NEITI is one of the few MDAs that responded fully to the implementation of Freedom of Information Act. Under the present leadership of NEITI, a Freedom of Information Portal has been established to provide timely feedback from the public on our activities. By this initiative, NEITI’s operations and activities are open to public scrutiny at all times. Now, NEITI has a track record of responding to any questions, inquiry from the public within 24 hours maximum. The FOI portal is open on www.neiti.gov.ng.As a result of the speed with which NEITI responds to public inquiry, NEITI won 5th position among 242 agencies sampled in 2017 and took the 2nd position in 2018 also in the same competitive independent survey conducted by Public Procurement Development Center (PPDC) a non-governmental organization.
There has also been Policy Engagement whereby NEITI has been shaping the Policy Space.Under the revised strategic plan, NEITI has also begun a robust engagement to positively shape the policy space in the industry through researched scholarly publications, thought leadership and inter-agency coordination. To implement this objective, NEITI commenced the production and publication of various policy instruments and knowledge products such as policy briefs, occasional papers and quarterly reviews. From 2016-2019 when the current Board was constituted, about 10 NEITI quarterly Reviews, 4 each of Policy Briefs and Occasional Papers Series have been produced and published.
Additionally, the achievements of the current team include the Regularity of NEITI reports to meet industry demands. NEITI has conducted and published eight cycles of audits in the oil and gas sector spanning 1999–2016; seven solid minerals audits covering 2007-2016, and one Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) audit covering 2007-2011. The scopes of these audits cover financial, physical and process. The dissemination of these reports currently elicits enormous public interest and is leading reforms in the extractive industries. NEITI has also concluded and about to publish another cycle of FASD report covering 2012 – 2016, while its 2017 and 2018 oil, gas and solid minerals sector audits are in progress. The FASD audit, when completed will track disbursements and applications of extractive revenues from the federation account to the three tiers of government and other government agencies that directly receive allocations from the federation account. Information and data on these reports have helped to push the boundaries of transparency and accountability in the sector through multi-stakeholders collaboration to implement the findings.
Presently, NEITI has also developed a Data Dashboard. In June of 2018, NEITI unveiled a Dashboard, which targeted increasing transparency through access to information and crucial facts in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors. The Dashboard was also developed as part of the implementation of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative policy on Open Data policy. It currently serves as a warehouse for all NEITI Reports and on the click of a button, information on any aspect of NEITI Reports is available.
Among the achievements of the current team, there has been the development of Tracking mechanism of remediation implementation. NEITI in partnership with its Civil Society Steering Committee has developed a mobile application called the RemTrack. This new technology tracks and monitors the progress of the implementation of remedial issues in the NEITI reports by covered entities. The app is an electronic platform aimed at updating stakeholders in real time, on the status of NEITI’s remedial issues. The app when fully deployed will serve as a tool for the companies, relevant government agencies, the civil society, media and the general public to follow up on the reforms in the oil, gas and mining industry triggered off by NEITI’s Reports and sustained advocacy.
Another key achievement within the period under review was the conduct of NEITI stakeholders mapping, which was successfully carried out in 2017.
Additionally, the team has also broadened existing stakeholders’ engagement. This includes the Companies’ Forum. NEITI had established a Companies Forum where all the oil, gas and mining companies converge to discuss the NEITI Reports findings and recommendations, implementation of extractive industry transparency generally and the implications for wider reforms being implemented by the administration.
The stakeholders’ engagement also includes the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC).The CSSC is a Forum where the civil society meets regularly as key partners in the EITI process to discuss the NEITI Reports findings and recommendations. So far, the Forum has provided a platform for timely information sharing, knowledge exchange, peer learning, confidence building and above all conflicts prevention and management. It has also broadened the base of NEITI’s stakeholders’ engagement with the citizens in the line with the standards of the global EITI.
The current team at NEITI are doing a phenomenal job. By working together as a team, NEITI has been able to record much progress. The Zonal Outreach held in Kano was a resounding success and it was all due to the collective effort of every in-house member of NEITI, the management, the Executive Secretary, the Chairman and the Board members.
As we walk away from a successful Zonal Outreach, much appreciation is awarded to the current team of NEITI; the Executive Secretary, Mr Waziri Adio, the Chairman, Dr Isa Dutse, Alhaji Lawan Gana Lantenwa, Alhaji Shehu Sani, Comrade Kola Banwo, Mr. Bernard Ver, Dr. Anne Adaeze Onyekwena, Mr. Emmanuel Chiejina, Otunba Gbenga Onayiga, Professor Olugbenga Akindeji Okunlola, Comrade Dr. Achese Igwe, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, Mrs Oby Onuorah, Mr Chris Ochonu,Dr. Dieter Bassi, Mr Balarabe Sa’ad, Alhaji Abdulrahaman Usman, Mr Hilary Enenche, Mr Kazeem Lameed, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, Hajiya Mariya Baba, Hajiya Aisha Baffa, Professor Arabi, Dr Muttaka, the contributors, attendees, all the people working at NEITI and those who worked behind the scenes to make the program a success.
Much appreciation is also given to the government and people of Kano State that worked closely with NEITI to make the Zonal outreach in Kano a successful outing.
…More grease to the elbows of every member of NEITI moving forward.
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