NIGERIA WINS BEST EITI IMPLEMENTING COUNTRY AWARD

Nigeria has won the ‘‘best extractive industry transparency implementing country award” instituted   by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The award by the world body is to encourage resource-rich countries to embrace the principles of transparency, accountability and prudent   management of revenues from oil, gas and mining sectors to aid national development and support  poverty reduction.

Nigeria was voted the best implementing country among 39 member countries that have so far embraced the initiative   across the world.

Announcing the award   at the   6th global conference of the organisation in Sydney, Australia, the chair of the  International Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Claire Short  described NEITI’s  implementation of the principles of  Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in the  oil, gas and mining  sectors  as the most comprehensive,  courageous and ambitious .

The Board explained that the award was in recognition of the increasing public demands by Nigerians for accountability, massive reforms in the extractive industry. The EITI international commended the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for the agency’s   timely provision of information and data through regular and independent audits of the oil, gas and mining sectors in Nigeria.  “  While implementation by other member countries were limited to  reconciliation of  revenue flows of what companies paid  against what government received, the Nigerian government through parliamentary  legislation extended the mandates of NEITI to include independent  physical and process  audits. NEITI’s recent decision to embark on   independent tracking of   fiscal allocations and statutory disbursements of extractive revenue funds to various tiers and levels of government was well applauded of its significance in ensuring legitimate utilisation of such funds in areas of citizen’s need “The independence, quality, content, comprehensive and incisive nature of NEITI audit reports is a model for other member countries to emulate”.

The EITI International Board expressed delight that from NEITI interventions, Nigerian government has recovered   a huge sum of $ 2 billion while another outstanding sum of $9.6 was uncovered as potential revenues to the Federation.  

 “These efforts   by NEITI have led to government’s response to public demands for reforms in the sector resulting in the introduction of the Petroleum industry Bill now before the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law among other impacts. I congratulate NEITI, the government and people of Nigeria especially the civil society and the media”, the EITI International Chair, Claire Short, added, amidst ovation by delegates drawn from about 84 countries that were in Sydney for the conference.  

Receiving the award,   Head of the Federal   Government delegation to the EITI Conference and Minister of Mines and Steel development, Arch.   Musa Mohammed Sada, described the award as an important endorsement of Nigeria’s democracy and the transformation agenda of President Jonathan administration. He described the international award as timely coming at a time Nigeria is marking her Centenary and Democracy Day Celebrations.  He expressed delight on the partnership and collaboration between NEITI and relevant government agencies in implementing the EITI process.

Arch Musa Mohammed Sada used the forum to call on investors to take advantage of the massive reforms in the extractive industry and invest in Nigeria. “Now is the time to invest in the oil, gas and mining sectors in our country. The government in Nigeria remain committed to improving from existing business investment through friendly policies, legislations and improvement in social infrastructure.”

Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo of Gombe state, NEITI chairman, Ledum  Mitee  and the Executive Secretary Zainab Ahmed and representatives of the civil society organisations in Nigeria accompanied the Minister to receive the award on behalf of the Federal Government.

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