ETHIOPIA ON STUDY TOUR AS FGN COMMITS TO NEITI PROCESS AND REFORMS IN THE EXTRACTIVE SECTOR

The Federal Government says its commitment to strengthen the Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency Initiative (NEITI) remains a priority especially as reforms in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector have become inevitable.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim stated this when he received a delegation from the Ethiopia Extractive Industries transparency Initiative (EEITI) in Nigeria to understudy NEITI operations.

Senator Anyim expressed delight that the choice to visit Nigeria was as a result of the enviable ranking of Nigeria among EITI implementing countries globally and commended NEITI for being a role model among member countries.

The SGF stated that NEITI’s Audit reports have remained a tool for Government in building better systems and procedures that will strengthen the capacity of relevant agencies when the reforms fully commences.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed that many EITI implementing countries are interested in understudying NEITI because of the independent nature of its reports openness, passion for integrity, professionalism, and good business ethics built on accountability.

Receiving the delegation at the Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, the Minister, Arc. Mohammed Sada described NEITI as a critical partner in efforts to open up the mining sector for business investments.

Arc. Sada explained that the mining scoping study of the solid minerals sector and the on-going solid minerals audit being undertaken by NEITI remains two important milestones that will support the efforts of his ministry with comprehensive information and data to attract both local and foreign investments into the solid minerals sector that has been ignored over the years.

He explained that his ministry looks forward to the release of NEITI’s solid minerals industry audit report before the end of the year and expressed commitment to implement remedial issues that may arise in from the report.

The Minister advised the Ethiopian delegation to study very carefully NEITI’s openness, passion for corporate governance, community issues and stakeholders relations as important factors for business development in the solid minerals sector.

At an interactive session with the delegation at the NEITI Secretariat, The Chairman National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI Ledum Mitee called on countries implementing the EITI in the African Region to create a platform for information and knowledge sharing as basis for addressing specific challenges faced by the region.

The Chairman cautioned against making the issue of transparency a mere routine, urging stakeholders especially the civil society to use the NEITI reports to hold governments at all levels and companies accountable.

The Leader of the Ethiopian EITI delegation Mr Iyasu Yimer commended the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for its boldness in in its reports which has championed increasing public demands for transparency in the conduct of Government’s business in the extractive sector especially oil and gas industry.

“The government of Ethiopia has sent us to come and learn from Nigeria’s experience in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. We are in Nigeria to learn how the civil society in Nigeria engage with the government and companies doing business in the country and the level of government’s support to NEITI”

Mr Yimer described the mining industry in Ethiopia as being in its infancy. He disclosed that Nigeria investment in the Ethiopian Mining industry is ranked 9th position among foreigners doing business in the sector. He says the contribution of EITI in Ethiopia’s mining sector is very crucial, but lamented that unlike Nigeria, the civil society voice in Ethiopia is limited.

The delegation also witnessed the meeting of the Inter Ministerial Task Team of NEITI which was set up to implement remediation issues arising from NEITI Audit findings, interacted with members of the civil society, the media and visited extractive industry sites in Nigeria

Nigeria is reputed as the first country among forty five countries of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to enact a specific law to implement the EITI. Nigeria’s implementation of EITI also surpasses the global EITI requirements as it is designed to meet the country’s local needs.

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