Stakeholders in the extractive industries have unanimously endorsed the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Reports of Oil, Gas, and Mining covering 2020-2021.
The Deputy Director/Head Communications & Stakeholders Management, NEITI, Mrs Obiageli Onuorah disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, August 17, 2023.
The stakeholders’ approval of the report was as 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.
The Stakeholders drawn from the civil society, extractive companies, and government representatives converged on Abuja, Wednesday to approve the reports after a thorough review.
They 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 confirmed that their endorsement followed 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.
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. He endorsed the report and requested that the comments of the companies which has 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.
Other participants drawn from the three constituencies -government civil society and companies also commended the approach of convening the stakeholders’ meeting to approve the report and keep Nigeria in good standing with the global EITI.
In 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).
The 2019 EITI Standard under which the reports were commissioned mandatorily requires that the Multi-stakeholder Group-MSG which oversees the EITI reporting process and implementation in countries must approve the industries report produced before they are released to the public.
Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji 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.
Dr. 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% derivation by the oil-producing states.
With the approval of the NEITI 2021 industry reports, NEITI has so far 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.