BY FRANCIS KADIRI, ABUJA.
The Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Nigeria and the Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA) have called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ‘urgently implement key recommendations contained in the 2023 EITI Validation Report on Nigeria.
The non governmental organizations are working on transparency and accountability in the Nigerian extractive industries.
A statement from the coalition, jointly signed by Taiwo Otitolaye and Adebayo Titus of PWYP and CODWA respectively, described the validation exercise conducted by EITI as a quality assessment mechanism for measuring progress in implementing EITI standards and ensuring compliance to its requirements by member countries.
Discussing the recommendations made by the global EITI in its recent validation report, PWYP and CODWA called for ‘greater government oversight of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Secretariat, its financial management and recruitment practices,’ adding that government needs to ensure active participation and effective engagement of extractive companies in the EITI process in Nigeria.
As part of EITI recommendations, the groups stated that ‘the government should ensure that civil society is fully, actively and effectively engaged in all aspects of EITI process, ‘ adding that it is a critical component of the global body to ensure free and independent participation of civil society.
“The report further recommended that government should ensure that the Stakeholders Group (MSG) overseeing the EITI process is consistently constituted in timely manner, and that there is sufficient opportunity for the broader industry and civil society consistencies to freely and independently nominate their representatives into the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), among others.
The statement said EITI highly recommended the inclusion of more CSOs on the NSWG.
The statement further said: ‘The global body is of the opinion that the “NEITI 2007 ACT” should be amended to reflect the reality of today.
According to the report, Nigeria achieved a moderate score of 72 points in implementing the global EITI standard. The overall score is an average of three components scores on: stakeholders engagements; transparency; outcomes and impacts.
‘On outcomes and impacts component, Nigeria achieved a high score of 92 points. The country scored moderate 71.5 points on transparency component, and recorded fairly low points of 52.5 on stakeholders engagements component. Nigeria was awarded 2 additional points for effectiveness and sustainability of its EITI implementation.
The global body said Nigeria will have to implement all recommendations and corrective actions identified in the report before the next validation exercise, commencing January 2026 or face suspension.
The current EITI ranking of Nigeria has negative implications on the economy and the drive for foreign investments into the country’s oil, gas and mining sectors.
According to the statement, “the current EITI ranking of Nigeria is actually a backsliding from where the country was before the recent validation exercise.”
“The last validation exercise was conducted in 2019 when Nigeria was adjudged “Satisfactory Progress” which represented the highest ranking any member country of the global EITI can attain at the time.”
“This unfortunate backsliding by Nigeria in the global EITI ranking is a reflection of weak institution, poor stakeholders engagement, low transparency and accountability process.”
“All these have negative implications for investors’ confidence and growth of the extractive sector.
“The EITI validation report is taken very seriously by foreign investors, multi-lateral institutions and development agencies when making investments decisions.”
“Nigeria’s fairly low score in stakeholders engagement component, particularly the extractive companies, indicates their lack of confidence in the EITI process in Nigeria, with implications on investment decisions.”
The groups said the Presidency and other agencies with oversights functions needs to act swiftly and implement these key recommendations and other reforms to enable effective EITI implementation in Nigeria.