The Federal Government says the operation of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has helped to mobilise and improve government revenue flows.
The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed stated this while declaring open a Knowledge Sharing Session themed ‘’Continuity and Consolidation: Linking NEITI Reports to Impact’’ held for the Management and Staff of the Agency in Abuja.
Mrs Ahmed said that “NEITI interventions in the operations of the extractive industries in Nigeria have impacted positively on the work of the Ministry of finance. It has shed light on how government can optimize its own share of the revenues it is deriving from the sector and where and what it needs to do to close the gaps in the efficient management of extractive revenues.’’. According to her, “NEITI’s work has simply increased the inflow of revenues into government coffers and pointed areas that government should work on to reform the extractive sector”.
Represented by Mr. John Omata, Director of Special Projects in the Ministry, Mrs Ahmed commended NEITI for the outstanding courage it has exhibited in the discharge of its mandate and pledged the continuous support of her Ministry to the implementation of the EITI in Nigeria. “I applaud the idea of having a knowledge sharing opportunity for personnel of agencies. I implore you to use this opportunity to refresh your knowledge of the purpose for the setting up of NEITI.
The Minister added that “I encourage all of you therefore to make good use of the sessions to sharpen and strengthen your capacities to bring about increased impacts of the NEITI to the average citizens. I remember what we were able to achieve together while I was your Executive Secretary. I am glad that the culture of learning is still very strong in NEITI and I want to thank you for all that you have done and are doing for Nigerians.”
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NEITI Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji while setting the tone for the programme explained that the objective of the knowledge sharing session is to provide answers to three important questions of “Where is NEITI today, where should NEITI be and how can NEITI get there?”. He added that “Finding answers to these questions would reposition NEITI’s operations for greater impact in extractive sector governance and is the key to our continued existence and relevance”.
Dr. Orji urged members of NEITI staff to take advantage of this programme to strengthen their capacities and refresh their understanding of the NEITI mandate as well as the expanding nature of the EITI which has evolved over the years. This he said will enable the agency push the frontiers of transparency and accountability to impact the operations of other agencies of government.
‘’We should look at ourselves in the mirror, look at the work we do, how we do it, does it connect to our mandate and is it impactful? This moment should be likened to sharpening of the saw for individuals and overall organizational effectiveness”. The NEITI boss explained.
Dr. Orji explained that the goal of NEITI reviving its stakeholders’ engagements and outreaches is to “Regain NEITI’s visibility, gain positive perception in the minds of our allies and partners and re-assure them of our commitment to sustain the EITI noble principles. These consultations are yielding positive results already”
While delivering the goodwill message from the World Bank, Ms Masami Kojima, the World Bank lead expert on Sustainable Energy Development based in Washington, commended NEITI for its giant strides in the implementation of the EITI.
Ms Kojima noted that “For a long time, NEITI’s work is the only source of independent information in the Nigeria oil, gas and mining sector. NEITI’s achievements has been amazing to the extent that International organizations, policy makers, civil society and investors always looks forward to the NEITI reports’’.
She commended NEITI for its role in opening up the state owned oil company – the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”NEITI greatly contributed to NNPC becoming more transparent ‘’ Masami said.
Similarly, Mr. Emmanuel Uche, the coordinator of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Reforms (RoLAC) on behalf of the European Union and British Council expressed the willingness of RoLAC to partner and support NEITI.
Mr Uche stated that “The information and data turned out by NEITI is what no one can and has faulted because of its established independence, empirical methods, objectivity in its judgement and the fact that NEITI is accountable to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)”.
Mr. Uche commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the choice of Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji as the Executive Secretary. He described Dr. Orji as a committed, experienced and visionary leader that will give the much needed direction and push to the transparency agency.
The knowledge sharing session which is expected to last the whole week is intended to expose the management and staff of NEITI to current developments in the extractive sector, acquaint them with the steps being taken by the management to address identified gaps and make projections for the future.
Head, Communications and Advocacy