The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it is working to involve the President directly in the implementation of remedial issues identified by its audit reports, noting that remediation still remains the weakest link in the NEITI process.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio disclosed this recently in Abuja while addressing participants at a one day sensitization workshop for covered entities (relevant government agencies and extractive companies) on RemTrack, an online platform developed to track progress on the implementation of remedial issues.
“We have a platform called inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) through which remedial issues in our reports are expected to be resolved…, we are trying to see how we can rejuvenate it, we are trying to see how we can get purchase at the highest political level to involve the President directly”, Adio stated
“This is because some of the issues are actually out of NEITI’s control but we belief that if we have political support at the highest level, it will give us a better result on addressing the issue”, Adio further explained.
Explaining the rationale for the meeting, Adio said: “we are here today to leverage on technology to address remedial issues in our reports through the use of online application called RemTrack – where we put all the issues online and collaboratively tick-off issues that have been address and monitor implementation progress real time”.
He informed participants that NEITI will also do more on bi-lateral advocacy, through direct meetings with affected government agencies or by setting up joint team to address issues, saying his agency is not interested in embarrassing anybody, but working to improve the system.
“We are not adversaries with any agency or companies in this process, we are partners, and we are all working together for a better society to push the boundary of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries governance”, the Executive Secretary stated.
Adio said Nigeria is respected globally and seen as gold standard among the 52 member countries implementing the EITI, noting that this feat would have been difficult to achieve without the support given to NEITI by stakeholders, including government, companies and civil society, over the years.
The Executive Secretary expressed optimism that he looks forward to a day when NEITI reports will become redundant, when companies will be doing voluntary self-disclosure while government agencies will fully embrace data mainstreaming.
In his goodwill address, Mr. Kolawole Banwo, a member of the NEITI Board and Chair of Civil Society Steering Committee, pledged full support of the civil society to the implementation of remedial issues by NEITI.
He informed participants that RemTrack is a civil society initiative and will also be driven by civil society, noting that information and data uploaded on the application have been carefully verified through the NEITI process.
Mr. Banwo explained to participants that the application is a vital tool for citizen advocacy and engagement in the oil, gas and mining sectors. He urged stakeholders to engage the application with open minds.
Mr. Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) who was represented by Mr. Elia Simon at the meeting reiterated the commitment of the Corporation to NEITI process, and pledged its readiness to key into RemTrack application.
“We are assuring you on behalf of NNPC management that the corporation will continue to cooperate with you in promoting transparency and accountability in the Nigerian oil and gas sector” Mr. Simon stated.
In his contribution, Dr. Michael UzoIgwe of the Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER) commended NEITI and Order Paper, an advocacy organization for the successful completion of RemTrack application, saying FOSTER will continue to support such initiative that is targeted at addressing remedial issues in the NEITI reports.
Dr. Michael noted that remediation has been the most boring aspect of NEITI work over the years; he however expressed hope that the introduction of RemTrack will bring life into the implementation of remedial issues and strengthen extractive industries governance in Nigeria.