Shareholders seek review of NEITI laws

To entrench transparency in the sector, multi-stakeholders in the extractive industry have called for a review of the law setting up the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to give the agency powers to track the erring operators.

At a roundtable on review of NEITI Act of 2007, the participants expressed the view that NEITI needs more powers to effectively police and monitor the oil, gas and mining industry given the present commitment to reform the sector, enthrone transparency and accountability.

The participants, who argued for more powers for NEITI, said it was in recognition of the courage, competence, integrity and professionalism with which NEITI has executed its mandate over the years in spite under challenging circumstances.

Various areas in the NEITI law identified by the stakeholders for possible amendment include the provisions for funding, access to information, structure of the governing board, the powers of the Executive Secretary and the ability for NEITI to enforce sanctions.

The participants made up of members of the National Assembly, the Media and the Civil Society as well as development experts proposed a review of these and more areas to put NEITI in stronger position, better equipped to implement the global principles of extractive industries transparency initiative.

A statement issued by the Director, Communications, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said the stakeholders shared the view that given the peculiar nature of NEITI’s assignment, the sensitive nature of the sector to national economy and the international affiliation of NEITI operations, the agency requires enough powers to perform its responsibilities.

The roundtable specifically proposed that NEITI activities should be financed directly through the natural resources development fund. It also recommended that a certain percentage of the revenues recovered from oil, gas and mining companies as a result of NEITI’s intervention be granted to NEITI to finance its operations.

The participants also recommended that under the proposed review, composition of NEITI Board should be made up of experienced professionals with track record of competence and integrity. It rejected the tendency to fill the Board with politicians with little or no interest on the mission and vision of the global EITI.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed underlined the need for NEITI to be given more powers and adequate resources to enable it efficiently carry out its mandate of enthroning transparency, accountability and good governance of Nigeria’s oil, gas and min

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