AMID concerns over the timely release of its reports, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has fixed September 24, 2024, to unveil its 2022/2023 reports on oil, gas, and solid minerals industries.
Executive Secretary, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said this at the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) media briefing on Friday, January 25, in Abuja.
He said NEITI focused more on transparency while assuring that the two separate reports would be presented simultaneously to ensure current and globally acknowledged reliable data.
Notably, EITI, who is an international partner of NEITI sent a delegation to Nigeria to assess NEITI’s post-validation plans and how to support the EITI implementation in Nigeria.
The international delegation was led by Bady Balde, Deputy Executive Director, Global EITI Secretariat.
Orji, at the media briefing, explained that some local challenges, including the time of resettlement of its office, affected the timeliness of the reports, adding that the challenges had been sorted out, insisting that the September scheduled date is assured.
Oriji noted that the international partners visit would among other things feature knowledge sharing and capacity building.
“Validation is a global assessment that holds all implementing countries to the same standard and Nigeria scored 72 per cent, excelled and recorded over 90 per cent in quality and reliability of data.
“Their visit is timely because we are trying to align our operations and mandates to the priorities and strategic development goals of the renewed hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu administration,” he said.
The executive secretary said the organisation is working with the National Assembly on the review of the NEITI Act to align with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021)
“We have done an in-house review of that Act and are seeking legal opinion. Consultants are working on it while we are working with the national assembly to see how to help us,” he said.
He said his management had looked at the EITI 23 standard agreed upon in Senegal and emerging issues in the global EITI, which included energy transition, contract transparency, and beneficial ownership.
According to him, the issues also include open and accessible data, climate change and gender inclusiveness, the environment, and several areas where the law is deficient.
“We also want to see what could be done to make NEITI less dependent on government for funding.
“Also to see if there are windows where our reports which usually lead to recovery of huge revenue could aid in giving some soft landing in terms of supporting government for funding instead of relying wholly on government,” he added.
Speaking earlier, Balde, the official from the Global EITI Secretariat, had expressed concerns with the delay in the publication of old data, adding that timeliness of data was necessary to cover current relevant issues.
Balde said data publishing should not be delayed, adding that many EITI compliance countries had gone far in producing data in the public domain including Senegal, Zambia, and Norway, among others.
Balde, while describing NEITI as the largest secretariat by staff in the world with twice the number of staff at its headquarters, called for more technical assistance, engagement, and timely data publication to avoid speculation.
He urged the internal governance of NEITI to sustain its principles and uphold values by practicing what it preached and maintaining the highest level of transparency and credibility.
He supported the amendment of NEITI’s act to address the imperfections of the law.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.