In order to effectively tackle the challenges in the extractive sector, including the emerging issues in the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has expressed plans to engage the National Assembly towards reviewing its establishing laws and strengthen its powers and functions.
This was disclosed during a media briefing by the agency’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Orji explained that when the NEITI Act was enacted in 2007, the focus was on oil and gas, however, between that time and now, there has been a lot of development and expansion in the scope of NEITI activities. “We will be working with the civil society, government, companies and the National Assembly to strengthen the powers and functions of NEITI. This will enable us tackle the challenges in the sector, including the emerging issues in the global EITI,” he said.
Equally important, he said, is ensuring that NEITI reports lead to visible measurable impacts that would shape the ongoing reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors, while stressing the need for the urgent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly.
“NEITI has a stake in the PIB and we are pleased that the political weight of the President is strongly behind the Bill. NEITI will join the debate to strengthen the voice that the future of the industry depends on the Bill. Our duty is to support the legislative process by working very closely with the relevant committees in the National Assembly, providing relevant information and data to facilitate their work,” he said.
He also restated NEITI’s commitment to the principles and standards of the global EITI in the implementation of the 2019 EITI Standard and the emerging issues, assuring of Nigeria’s efficient communication, timely sharing of information and data, consultations and synergy. “We will also remain committed to the full implementation of the emerging issues in the area of Contract Transparency, Beneficial Ownership, Mainstreaming, Commodity Trading, Environment, Gender etc.,” Orji stated.
He listed other areas of work which NEITI is committed to beaming its search lights on to include energy transition, climate change, improving the extractive business opportunities, aligning the EITI implementation in Nigeria with Nigeria’s foreign policy, sub-national outreaches, legislative engagements among others. This is in addition to broaden the base of its communications and stakeholder’s engagement to regain visibility and take NEITI to the grassroots through sub-national reporting.