The Federal Government of Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
President GoodLuck Jonathan gave the assurances in Sydney, Australia while addressing the 6th global Conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The Conference with the theme Beyond Transparency, held every two years is an international forum to review the impacts of extractive industries implementation in resource –rich member countries, a market for ideas from governments, companies and the civil society. It is also an opportunity to develop new policies and strategies for strengthening the organisation as well as broadening the base for investments.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch Musa Mohammed Sada explained that the interventions of the Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency Initiative on issues of accountability and good governance of the sector in Nigeria informed government’s decision to introduce the Petroleum Industry Bill to the National Assembly for passage into law.
“The draft legislation provides for sound policy, legal and regulatory frame works upon which the reform initiatives in Nigeria’s petroleum industry will be driven. For this to happen, the PIB has deliberately made sufficient provisions to strengthen the role of NEITI and deepen the extractive industries transparency initiative process”.
President Jonathan expressed the hope that when the PIB is passed into law, its provisions will promote the emergence of a petroleum industry in Nigeria that is built on the principles of transparency, due process, competition and good governance.
On similar reforms in the solid minerals industry, President Jonathan commended the efforts of NEITI in conducting a scoping study in the sector. He explained that the study helped to provide base line information and data on opportunities in the sector which he said is now drawing the attention of investors. “This effort by NEITI set the stage for the first ever solid minerals audit in Nigeria which NEITI also carried out. The reforms in the solid minerals industry which came about as a result of the establishment of NEITI include the enactments of Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, establishment of Nigerian Mining Cadastral Office to manage mineral titles in a transparent and non-discretionary manner as well as the introduction of community development agreement for all mining companies. The agreement is to ensure that the host communities benefit from mining activities in their localities”.
The President used the forum in Sydney to reassure the international Community of Nigeria’s commitment to extractive industries transparency principles being implemented in the country by NEITI. “I wish to use this opportunity to assure you all that Nigeria’s commitment to EITI remains very strong and prosperous. In this direction, we will continue to support EITI and NEITI with all necessary political will to guarantee its independence and realisation of its mandate”, the President concluded.
Meanwhile, France and the United Kingdom have joined the League of Nations implementing extractive industries transparency initiative. The Chair of EITI International, Claire Short announced this in Sydney, Australia while addressing the 6th global conference of the organisation. She explained that the admission of France and United Kingdom is an important development. This is addition to Norway and the United States that had earlier joined the organisation expressing the hope that more countries of the G8 rich in natural resources will soon embrace extractive revenue transparency.
The EITI Chair called on all political leaders of nations blessed with natural resources to put in place comprehensive reforms that will ensure that revenues from natural resources are used to provide education, health care, food, housing, social infrastructure and general welfare for their citizens with a view to reducing poverty and social conflicts. “Peace and security are better guaranteed when the citizens have access to basic social amenities, hope in their future which can come by prudent management of natural resources by their governments”.
Addressing the conference, the Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron described the EITI as a global movement against corruption and mismanagement with all the negative consequences on development, world peace and security. He reaffirmed the commitment of Britain to implement the EITI and contract transparency initiative being championed by the European Union. Participants at the Sydney Conference welcomed the signing up of the influential nations as a boost to the confidence of implementing countries from sub- Saharan Africa.
A special session on Nigeria presided over by Nigeria’s immediate past member of EITI Board and Governor of Gombe State; Ibrahim Dankwanbo examined the impacts on EITI in Nigeria, the prospects and challenges. The session was attended by the NEITI Chairman Ledum Mitee, the Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed, investors, the media and the civil society.
The global conference witnessed exhibitions from 39 countries, major companies, the civil society and international organisations.