Nigeria on Wednesday set the pace as the first Anglophone African country to attain overall satisfactory status in its progress in implementing all the requirements of the EITI Standard in the extractive industries.
The global transparency and accountability group made the announcement at the opening of its ongoing 42nd Board meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine.
During the meeting, the EITI Board assessed the status of eight implementing countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Ghana, Mauritania, Nigeria and Norway had undergone their second validations following evaluation of their processes based on the prescribed corrective actions last year.
In a statement published on its website on Wednesday, EITI said Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil and gas producer, has joined Norway in achieving satisfactory progress status in implementing the EITI Standard.
EITI Board Chair, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said Nigeria met all the requirements of the EITI Standard by seeking to entrench transparency in government and company systems.
“Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard remains in many respects a model for implementing countries globally,” Mr Reinfeldt said.
“Apart from its scope, Nigeria EITI reports have shaped major reforms initiated in the sector, including those by the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“We hope the government will continue to use the NEITI process to inform its policies for better governance.”
The EITI Board acknowledged Nigeria’s pioneering use of multi-stakeholder governance to disclose data on its upstream extractives value chain.
Under the EITI standards, the member nations are assessed on multi-stakeholders governance oversight, licenses and contracts, monitoring production, revenue collection, socio-economic contribution, and outcomes and impact.
TheEITI said Nigeria has so far gone beyond its requirements in the areas of in-kind revenue collection and public debates under outcomes and impact on the people.
The global transparency said the country is making encouraging progress in the direction of beneficial ownership, revenue management and expenditures, and data accessibility.
Apart from the anti-corruption agenda and the ongoing oil sector reforms, Nigeria has already given the commitment to implement an Open Contracting Data Standard and establish a publicly accessible registry of the licensed owners of all companies operating in Nigeria.
These arrangements were part of the country’s desire to implement the beneficial ownership principle in both the oil and gas and the mining audits.
Over 15 years of implementing the EITI, the group said its Nigeria affiliate has organised independent audits of the oil and gas industry apart similar exercise in the solid minerals sector.
Since 2017, EITI said NEITI disclosed key data on its allocation of licenses on the administration of oil and gas subnational transfers to the three tiers of government (Federal, State, and Local Governments) as well as on crude sales and other processes within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“The NEITI reports form the basis for reforms in the oil, gas and mining industry, as was laid out in President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 political campaign manifesto,” said Finance Minister and an EITI Board member, Zainab Ahmed, is quoted to have said.
“Inspired by the EITI, the Nigerian government now conducts monthly routine reconciliations for all sectors, not just the extractives, which has increased government revenues,” she added.
Reputed to be Africa’s largest oil and gas producer, with daily oil production capacity currently at an average of 2 million barrels, Nigeria plans to double output by 2020 to about 4million barrels.
After nearly 50 years of exploration, the country still has four times more in reserves than its nearest rival Angola.
Though a mono products economy, with more than 70 per cent of foreign earnings from oil exports, the EITI said the country has been challenged by problems of corruption and lack of unaccountability in the use of its oil revenues.
Through NEITI’s annual reports and interventions, EITI said Nigerians now know more about the operations of the sector, which despite low commodity prices, still remains the backbone of their economy.
Most Nigerians and civil society groups are now better armed with information to ask probing questions and make informed contributions to governance, said executive secretary of the Nigeria EITI, Waziri Adio, said.
Over time, Mr Adio is quoted to have said various governments have used information from NEITI’s reports to recover almost $3 billion that would have remained unpaid.
“NEITI’s recommendations are driving the ongoing reforms in our oil and gas and mining sectors,” Mr Adio said.
The status of an EITI implementing country is determined through validation of their quality assurance mechanism.
The validation process involves assessment of the country’s performance against the requirements of the EITI Standard by reviewing documentation and consulting with government, company and civil society stakeholders.