The former Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr Fedrik Reinfeldt is to take over as the new Chair of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Reinfeldt who was elected recently at the 31st International Board Meeting held in Kiev, Ukraine will have his election ratified at the 7th global EITI Conference slated for the 24th – 25th February,2016 in Lima, Peru.
The election of the former Swedish Prime Minister followed the successful completion of tenure by Clare Short, a former Member of the British House of Commons who has led the 50 Member world body in the last four years.
Both the new and out-going Chair are expected to visit President Buhari of Nigeria from the 8th to 9th February, 2016.
The visit is in recognition of Nigeria’s strategic position in the global EITI and the bold reforms being embarked upon by President Muhammadu Buhari especially in the fight against corruption. The EITI has publicly endorsed the on-going war on corruption in Nigeria. The out-going Chair, Clare Short is on a farewell visit and will consult with President Buhari on the need to strengthen EITI implementation in Nigeria.
The visit will also provide the global Chair the opportunity to share views with the President on the war against corruption and convey the EITI support for the on-going reforms in the oil, gas and mining sector.
The visit is also an opportunity to share with the President, global experiences on how the EITI framework can be used as a tool to fight corruption and reduce poverty in resource rich countries like Nigeria.
Clare Short also plans to use the visit to introduce the Chair-designate and former Prime Minister of Sweden, Fedrik Reindfeldt. During the visit, the two world leaders will hold consultations with Civil Society, top government functionaries, public and private sector executives, representatives of extractive industry companies and the media.
The Acting Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji described the outgoing Chair as an asset to the EITI and close friend of NEITI. He noted that Clare Short has used her position to advance the EITI implementation in Nigeria and other developing Countries.
Dr. Orji expressed hope that the coming of the out-going Chair and Chair- designate to Nigeria will strengthen NEITI’s comprehensive plan to align its mandate in natural resource governance with the on-going reforms in the sector by President Buhari’s administration. The team is expected in Nigeria as from the 7th of February, 2016.
Mr Reinfeldt, an economist and politician is a native of Stockholm. Born in 1965, he became the Prime Minister of Sweden in 2006. The EITI Chair – designate was the former Chairman of the Liberal Conservative Moderate Party and the last rotating President of the European Council in 2009.
Accepting the job, Mr Fedrik Reinfeldt said “Questions about openness, transparency and accountability have always been close to my heart. It is important that the world’s major resources are used in an equitable manner for the benefit of all citizens and I look forward to working with the EITI in parallel with other commitment and lectures”.
Nigeria and the about 50 other member countries in the EITI look forward to working closely with the new chair Fredrik Reinfeldt to build solidly on the achievements of Clare Short. One major challenge is shifting attention of EITI from transparency, through accountability to impact in the lives of the citizens.