EITI Gives Nigeria Six Months Ultimatum

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, OCT 20, (THEWILL) - The Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at its on-going meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has given Nigeria six months with effect from October 2010 to meet certain conditions before it can become a Compliant Country.

In a statement made available to THEWILL in Abuja, the decisions of the Board were based on the Report of the EITI Validation Committee in which Nigeria and five other countries are candidates. The other countries are Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

These countries are currently recognised by the world body as Candidate Countries in the international transparency rating standard for management of oil, gas and solid mineral sectors.

Nigeria and these countries went through EITI validation exercises to enable them advance to full status of Compliant Nations. EITI Validation represents a Quality Assurance Mechanism that the global EITI Board uses to determine a country’s ‘Candidate or Compliant status’. Following the exercise, Nigeria was adjudged by the Board as “Close to Compliant.” In arriving at this decision, the EITI Board “congratulated the government, companies and civil society organisations in Nigeria for the progress so far made by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in implementing EITI principles and objectives.”

The Board noted with satisfaction that Nigeria was the first of the thirty-one EITI implementing Countries to back the EITI process by law with the NEITI Act of 2007. The Board also noted that Nigeria conducted audit reports which covered physical, process and financial audits of the oil and gas sectors for the periods 1999-2004 and 2005 respectively, and established NEITI as a concrete structure to institutionalise the EITI process in Nigeria.

However the EITI Board recommended that for Nigeria to achieve “full complaint status” the country is required to take six remedial steps. Amongst the steps are the conclusion and dissemination of its on-going 2006 - 2008 audit report in the oil and gas sector and the development of a Board Charter to strengthen the work of the National Stakeholders Working Group.