Stakeholders Brainstorm On Contract Transparency, Benefit Sharing, Energy Transition Roadmap In African Sub-region

Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, (4th from left, Executive Secretary, Spaces for Change (5th from left) with Traditional Rulers from oil host communities, unveiling the Community-Investor Guidelines during the Dialogue in Abuja on Tuesday

By Juliet Ukanwosu

Stakeholders across the extractives sector value chain, on Tuesday, in Abuja, gathered to assess the progress being made in the African sub-region to improve contract transparency, benefit sharing, energy transition as well as the inclusion of host communities in the process.

Industry stakeholders from Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal came together to dialogue and learn from each other with a view to finding solutions to common problems and identifying best and inclusive practices for improving the resilience of national economies in the face of increasing commodity price volatility around the world while preparing meaningfully for the transition to a low-carbon future.

Tagged ‘National Extractives Dialogue’ (NED) 2022, the forum was co-hosted by Spaces for Change and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) with support from Ford Foundation.

Executive of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in his remarks explained that the event is designed to provide companies, governments, civil society and development partners in the extractive industry a platform to discuss the contemporary issues of contract transparency, extractive resources benefits sharing and energy transition in West Africa, with a focus on Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“The overall goal is to enable governments, companies, civil society and communities to evaluate the energy industry and proffer evidence-based policy recommendations for the efficient and effective management of natural resource benefits and the transition from fossil fuel to a renewable energy regime with these countries as case studies,” Orji said.

He stressed the importance of the event in view of the fact that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) 2019 Standard requires implementing countries, including Nigeria to disclose any contract(s) and licenses that are granted, entered, or amended that sets out the terms and conditions for the exploration and exploitation of oil, gas, or minerals from January 2021, which is further reinforced by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 which also mandates the publishing of the texts of any new license, lease or contract, or amendment immediately following the granting or signing of such texts.

Cross section of participants on day 1 of the Dialogue in Abuja on Tuesday

Stressing the need for disclosures across the extractive industries’ value-chain Orji said sharing of natural resources benefits among governments, extractive companies, investors and communities should transcend monetary values and profits and address issues of injustice and inequality in the sector.

He tasked the Dialogue to provide answers to critical questions such as what benefits are to be shared, the sharing formula, when and how these benefits are shared and sanctions for infractions and redress mechanisms, while urging stakeholders to also deep-dive into debate about the transition to a sustainable, decarbonized economy which is reshaping the global extractive industries’ operations.

Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, pointed out that extractive resources are only beneficial when they are extracted in a responsible and cost-effective manner and the revenues accruing promptly remitted to government coffers for the benefit of citizens.

He admitted that the call for a more transparent and accountable industry is in order because opaqueness of Nigeria’s  oil industry operations in the past, contributed to low performance both in terms of profitability and contribution to economy.

“This call by stakeholders was heeded by this present government, recognizing that transparency underpins improved performance and improved performance of the NNPC is necessary for the ultimate benefit of our citizenry,” Kyari stated. Actions taken in this regard he said, include the monthly publication of the NNPC’s operations report and audited financial reports, strengthened collaboration with NEITI and becoming an EITI Supporting Company.

In her remarks, Executive Director of Spaces for Change, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, emphasized that beyond making extractive contracts more open, the significant drift towards transparency will enable countries, citizens, the civil society and host communities to know the amount of revenues accruing from natural resources, make equitable demands, and hold extractive companies and investors accountable when there is non-compliance with the dictates of the contracts.

While underscoring the need to explore opportunities of engaging and facilitating local community inclusion in national, regional and global transition plans, she disclosed that from researches conducted by Space for Change, communities are asking “Who will clean up the environment after fossil fuels have been abandoned and corporations have gone back to their countries? Who will control the wealth accruing from the renewable resources under a green economy? What will happen to local livelihoods that are now intertwined with the extraction of fossil mineral resources? And how they will overcome the existing limitations on access to cleaner energy solutions,” among others.





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