CSOs Push for Contract Transparency

The network of the civil society, the media, rights groups, and community based organisations, CONTRANET has called on NEITI, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, NNPC, Mining Cadastre Office, CSOs and other stakeholders to work together to develop and adopt a Framework on the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria.

 

This was contained in a communique issued after its validation meeting on advocacy and strategy for the development and implementation of a framework for contract transparency in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

The coalition noted that contract transparency is compatible with the anti-corruption thrust of the present administration and constitutes a major way to consolidate anticorruption efforts in the sector.

The group frowned at the current practice in which contracts entered into by government are negotiated and held in secrecy, a practice considered antithesis to the global practice of transparency and accountability and predisposes the sector to corruption, unfavourable contracts and revenue losses to the nation.

The network of civil society stressed that the practice of keeping contracts secret between companies and an exclusive group of government officials can only breed suspicion and distrust between government and citizens since this only serves narrowed interest. The coalition pointed out the strategic importance of the extractive sector to the lives and welfare of citizens and urged government which is holding the management of these assets in trust for the people to be open for public scrutiny.

The group reminded Nigeria of its pledge to implement contract transparency at international fora including the commitment made at the London Anticorruption Summit in 2016, the Open Government Partnership as well as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which Nigeria subscribed to in 2004.

According to the group ’’Nigeria cannot renege on its pledges to these fora’’

CONTRANET believed that the scandals and potential losses to the nation exemplified in the legal tussle on Gas Supply Purchasing Agreement (GSPA) between Nigeria and Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), could have been avoided if a policy on contract transparency was in place.

The network of the CSOs commended NNPC for signing on to the EITI as a supporting company and called on the corporation to champion the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive value chain according to EITI standards.

The coalition urged its members to engage the Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, National Assembly and other relevant organisations to commence the review and development of the necessary legislative and policy frameworks.

The group resolved to continue to advocate for good standards in the extractive value chain and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that a framework for the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria is developed, adopted and implemented.

The 2019 EITI Standard Section 2.4.(a) requires implementing countries to disclose any contracts and licenses that are granted, entered into or amended after 1 January 2021. Similarly, implementing countries by requirement 2.4 (c) are also mandated to document government’s policy on disclosure of contracts and licenses that govern the exploration and exploitation of oil, gas and minerals.