The 38th meeting of the EITI International Board holds in Manila, Philippines from the 25th to 26th October 2017 at the Conrad Manila Hotel.

The meeting will be preceded by a conference on Beneficial Ownership holding in Jakarta, Indonesia from the 23rd to 24th October 2017.

Government agencies in member countries responsible for tax collection, drafting or implementation of laws, establishing and managing company registry regulating the petroleum and mining sector as well as those coordinating issues are expected at the conference.

The EITI meeting will begin on the 24th with meetings of committees on Civil society, Companies, implementing and supporting countries constituencies.

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The figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics for the second quarter of this year (Q2 2017) show that the economy grew in Q2 2017 by 0.55% from -0.91% in Q1 2017 and -1.49% in Q2 2016.  This in effect means that the Nigerian economy has exited recession after five successive quarters of contraction.

This positive growth is attributable to both the oil and non-oil sectors of the economy.  Growth in the oil sector which has been negative since Q4 2015 was positive in Q2 2017.  It rose by 1.64% as compared to -15.60 in Q1 2017, an increase of up to 17 percentage points.  This improvement is partly due to the fact that oil prices which have improved slightly from the lows of last year have been relatively steady as well as the fact that production levels were being restored.

The non-oil sector grew by 0.45% in Q2 2017, a second successive quarterly growth after growing 0.72% in Q1 2017.  This increase which was not quite as strong as it was in Q2 2016 reflects continuing fragility of economic conditions.  However, given that nearly 60% of the non-oil sectors contribution to GDP is influenced by the oil sector, growth in the oil sector will help boost the rest of the economy.

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The commitment by the Nigerian government to establish a public beneficial ownership register received a boost today, as key agencies of the government met in Abuja to fine-tune strategies for implementation.  The meeting which was held under the auspices of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) had in attendance the representatives of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(NEITI), the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) and the Federal Ministry of Justice amongst others.

The Nigerian government has committed to ending secret company ownership as part of the anti-corruption commitments under the Open Government Partnership(OGP) in May 2016, by opening a publicly accessible beneficial ownership register. Such efforts are expected to bring an end to situations where individuals and entities especially politically exposed persons(PEPs) mask their identity while retaining controlling powers over companies, corporations and assets.

Speaking at the end of the meeting the National Coordinator of Open Government Partnership and Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reforms, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku- Nwagwu outlined how such efforts can complement other anti-corruption efforts of the current administration. According to her: “Beneficial ownership transparency is the sixth commitment in the National Action Plan of the Open Government Partnership. It critical to ongoing efforts to trace, recover and repatriate stolen assets and disrupt illicit financial flows. By the time the beneficial ownership register is made public, there will be no hiding place for those who wish to conceal “dirty” money’

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All over the world, resource-rich countries like Nigeria that depend on revenues from natural resources to finance annual budgets plan early to insulate themselves from  price volatility in the international market and eventual depletion of the resources. Many of these countries do so by setting up stabilization funds to save for the rainy day and for the future of the next generation.  This essentially requires a deliberate policy to set aside money earned from natural resources especially during periods of high prices to smoothen expenditure when prices fall.

The stabilization funds also protect these countries against total dependence on natural resources revenue. The essence of saving for the rainy day is that it also helps resource-rich nations to effectively address the resource curse syndrome and the moral burden of generational equity.

In Nigeria, the idea of saving a portion of oil and gas revenues for the rainy day and for the future generation began in 1989 when the Stabilisation Fund was set up.  The objective was to set aside 0.5% of revenues going into the Federation Account to support "any state of the Federation that suffers absolute decline in its revenues as a result of circumstances beyond its control.

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The three tiers of government (federal, states and local governments) shared N2.788 trillion between January and June this year, a 38% increase on the N2.019 trillion shared in the first half of 2016.

This disclosure is contained in the NEITI Quarterly Review which focuses on disbursement from the Federation Accounts and Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The review was based on data obtained by NEITI at the meetings of FAAC and data from National Bureau of Statistics, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office.

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The on-going Independent Audit of the Oil and Gas Industry covering 2015 by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has recorded 94% compliance by companies and relevant government agencies. Twelve companies topped the ranking table with a maximum score of 100%. The companies are Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Consolidated, Continental, Eroton, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria.(Erha) EEPNL, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria(Offshore East)EEPN(OE)L , Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources.

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Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) have agreed to work together in the areas of oil revenue savings and promotion of better attitude to public office.

The agencies reached this agreement at separate meetings with NEITI Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio. The meetings focused on exploring areas of inter-agency mutual cooperation. Mr Adio explained that while Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) manages the Sovereign Wealth Fund derived from extractive revenues, the National Orientation Agency leads national campaign for attitudinal change and ethical values in the country.

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