The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has appealed to the National Assembly to hasten the outstanding processes and present the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration and assent.
NEITI said it strongly believes that concluding the remaining process in the PIB is what is needed now to table new agenda for the oil/gas industry.
Dr Orji Ogbonaya Orji, Executive Secretary of NEITI who made the appeal during the public presentation of the 2019 Industry Reports to the media and civil Society Organisations on Tuesday in Lagos, said the agency seeks deeper engagements with companies, media and the civil society on a new emerging industry when the PIB eventually becomes law.
He however commended the companies and government agencies covered by the audits for living up to expectations and fulfilling EITI requirements and provisions of NEITI Act, 2007.
NEITI he said is consulting widely with stakeholders to seek inputs to review and amend the NEITI Act enacted since 2007, saying that there is urgent need to update the law to meet with unfolding developments in the industry especially in a possible post PIB regime.
“NEITI is also reviewing its strategic plan and has set September this year as deadline to unfold a new plan. The plan will set broad policy guidelines that chart clear policy direction for the agency for the next five years. Our annual work plans and budgets provisions will be driven by our strategic plan to be unveiled in two months,” he said.
Nigeria, he said, chairs the global EITI committee on Contract Transparency, stating further that NEITI seeks to work with companies, csos, media and government to push the boundaries of openness in the drafting, content and management of contracts that guide funding and the financial regimes in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors.
He stated that discussions at higher levels have already commenced to agree with key interests what to disclose, when to disclose, how to disclose and why in a manner that is positively impactful and aligns with our vision of promoting investments and revenue growth.
The NEITI boss reiterated the commitment of the agency’s management under his leadership to translate the content of it reports to visible impacts in the lives of all Nigerians.
“This public presentation is directly linked to this commitment and thrust of the current NEITI’s management to translate its activities into concrete impacts in the life of Nigerians. Thus, NEITI’s Focus and the theme of the present Management is “Relevance built on revenue growth and visible impacts”.
It is important to note that the publication of these reports is the outcome of painstaking exercise, involving data collection, data validation, data reconciliation, he said.
The reports are based on information and data mandatorily provided to NEITI through independent auditors by relevant government agencies and companies doing business in the sector during the period under review.
“Let me reiterate the EITI philosophical base that when information and data on revenue from extractive sectors are publicly available and accessible, the citizens, civil society groups and media will be in a position to ask informed questions on the management of these resources to address the country’s socio-economic problems and poverty reduction.”
The civil society and media stated thus play very important roles in the EITI process, particularly, in the areas of dissemination of the reports’ findings, campaign and advocacy on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports.
The presentation of the reports, he said, has been designed to expose participants and stakeholders to the contents of the reports, including their key findings and recommendations to enable different stakeholders play their expected roles in the EITI implementation.