Uche Usim and Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Soothing news came the way of Nigeria recently as the International Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has adjudged Nigeria to have attained ‘‘Satisfactory Progress’’, the highest rating in implementation of its standards by member countries.
The country was also said to have earned $617.22 billion revenue between 1999 and 2016 in the oil and gas sector, while $308.77 billion has been disclosed as earnings in the solid minerals sector between 2007 and 2016.
Besides, about $20 billion have been identified as recoverable revenue, while information from Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s (NEITI)’s reports have been used to recover about $3 billion into government coffers.
These were disclosed by the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday. According to him, the EITI decision was announced at the 42nd meeting of the EITI board recently held in Kiev, Ukraine.
The decision, he noted, followed the consideration of the Report of Nigeria’s Validation conducted by the EITI international secretariat in July 2018.
Announcing the decision, the Chairman of the EITI board, Fredrik Reinfeldt, noted that: “Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI standard remains in many respects a model for implementing countries globally.”
Reinfeldt said, “apart from its scope, NEITI reports have shaped major reforms initiated in the sector, including those by the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”
Validation is an essential feature of the EITI process designed to assess performance of member countries and promote dialogue and learning at country level. It is also an important tool used to measure level of progress and compliance to its principles and requirements, and holds implementing countries to the same global standard. The Validation Report on Nigeria considered by the EITI board assessed the level of implementation of the EITI standard in Nigeria’s extractive sector and impact on ongoing reforms, lessons learnt, stakeholders’ participation and engagement, and prospects for the future.
“For us, achieving Satisfactory Progress on EITI Validation is not a destination, it is a journey. And the journey of continuous progress continues. Nigeria will continue to raise the bar in EITI implementation.”
Adio thanked the NEITI board, the government, civil society, companies, development partners and NEITI management and staff for their valued support.
The Executive Secretary, however, cautioned that attaining the highest rating in EITI implementation is one thing and enthroning transparency and accountability in the extractive sector to the extent that revenue resources in the industry contribute visibly to poverty reduction and improved quality of life for Nigerian citizens is another.