Nigeria’s extractive industry transparency standards to undergo global evaluation

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Officials of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Secretariat are expected in Nigeria on Sunday, July 24, 2016, to commence the process to re-validate Nigeria’s implementation of EITI principles in the country’s extractive industry.

EITI validation is a process to review the progress by EITI implementing countries measured against set global criteria and standards in terms of adherence to transparency, openness and accountability in the operations of extractive industry.

During the 10 days visit, the validation team would assess the level of commitment and adherence by the Nigerian government, operating companies and civil society to the principles of the global extractive industries transparency initiative in the governance of the extractive sector.

Re-validation process, which is a quality assurance mechanism used by the global EITI Board to hold implementing countries to the same global standard, provides an independent and impartial evaluation platform for verifying EITI member countries’ progress.

The ultimate goal of the process is to establish how EITI implementation leads to reforms, poverty reduction, improved quality of life for the citizens and transparent management of revenues accruing from the extractive industries in EITI member countries.

Spokesperson of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ogbonnaya Orji, said the re-validation process would afford the EITI team the opportunity to review the agency’s activities, reports and remediation processes.

“It will also consider government’s commitment and wider stakeholders’ participation and how NEITI reports have influenced the on-going reforms in the oil, gas and mining sector,” Mr. Orji said.

He said NEITI has already presented to the EITI Secretariat all necessary documents, information and data required by the validation team to conduct its independent desk review and evaluation on Nigeria.

To kick-start its assignment in Nigeria, Mr. Orji said the team of independent validators would meet with the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) and the NEITI management on Monday.

The team would equally consult with relevant government officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; civil society groups and the media as well as donor community and some select interest parties in the NEITI process.

Some of the interest parties include the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, consisting representatives of the multinational oil companies operating in the country; Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the NEITI – Companies Forum.

Apart from the management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the team is also scheduled to meet with relevant committees of the National Assembly and covered entities in the NEITI process, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The team would also meet with the immediate past Executive Secretary of NEITI, who is the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning and Nigeria’s representatives on the EITI International Board, Zainab Ahmed.

Nigeria is among the 51 EITI implementing countries, out of which only 15, namely Solomon Island, Ghana, Mongolia, Timor Leste, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Tajikistan, Mali, Mauritania, Sao Tome & Principe, Peru and Azerbaijan, are currently undergoing validation.

Member countries under validation may be rated as making “no progress”, “inadequate progress”, “meaningful progress”, “satisfactory progress” or “beyond progress”, depending on their level of progress in the EITI implementation.

Nigeria, which voluntarily signed up to the EITI principles in 2003, began implementation in 2004, and became the first country to support the process with a specific law in 2007.

Premium Times, 21 July 2016,