FG inaugurates NEITI working group

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Members of the newly inaugurated Board of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, are expected to preserve the integrity of the organisation by promoting its values anchored on competence, integrity and commitment.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, while inaugurating the National Stakeholders Working Group, the Board of NEITI in Abuja, extended the president’s good wishes to the new appointees and reminded them of the body’s past achievements through which the nation had recorded phenomenal revenue growth in the oil sector as a result of meticulous application of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, principles.

He said the Government expects these virtues from the Board apart from the mandate of NEITI in meeting up with the administration’s agenda of economic expansion and anti-corruption fight.

“Our faith in the NEITI process is not just because it is key to these two key government agendas, but also because, over the years, NEITI has demonstrated a high degree of competence, integrity and commitment to the values that the country requires to achieve economic growth and development in the sector through availability of reliable information data required for national planning and reforms. It has supported phenomenal revenue growth in the sector through meticulous application of EITI principles.

“As members of this board, you must ensure that NEITI continues to preserve these virtues for the benefit of all of us present here today and for future generations,” Mustapha charged.

He said their appointment and inauguration was another practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the management of economic resources especially given the mandate and objectives of NEITI.

Mustapha reminded the 5th Board that the Buhari Administration is passionate about the NEITI process because its strategic importance to Nigeria’s economy as well as transparency and accountability in the management of national resources which are central to the anti-corruption agenda of the government.

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He said the Federal Government is therefore irrevocably committed to the implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in the oil, gas and mining industries.

“Let me remind you that unlike most agencies government, NEITI is not just a local agency of the government, but part of an international organisation. Hence, it must be seen to comply with the principles of the international EITI.

Let me also on behalf of Mr. President use this opportunity to renew the commitment of the Nigerian government to the EITI implementation under the provisions of the NEITI Act 2007, and international standards and best practices under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative principles and emerging issues such as Beneficial Ownership Disclosure, Contract Transparency, data mainstreaming, among others,” Mustapha stated.

The SGF asked the Board to stay away from partisan politics to maintain integrity and neutrality as virtues that have been sustained by NEITI all through almost two decades of its existence. “It is also necessary for me to stress that your appointment is a part-time one. You are therefore advised to conduct yourselves in accordance with this requirement,” said Mustapha even as he expressed the confidence in the ability of the new Board to surpass the achievements of previous ones.

His words: “I am aware of the giant strides and laudable achievements that NEITI has already recorded over the development of our extractive sector years by previous Boards in the implementation of NEITI in Nigeria. But I trust that you will not only consolidate on these achievements, but you will also build strongly and surpass them.”

Chairman of the Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle thanked President Buhari for the confidence reposed in them and opportunity to serve while giving assurance the that the new Board under his watch will push the boundaries of transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s extractive industries.

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He pledged the commitment of the new Board to the full implementation of the principles of the global EITI and in strengthening the on-going reforms in the nation’s extractive sector.

Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji who is the Secretary to the Board, applauded the timely decision of the Federal Government to reconstitute the NEITI body.

“The NSWG is central to the work of NEITI. The constitution of this Board will enable NEITI reassume its leading position among the global EITI implementing countries,” Orji noted.

Other members of the 15 -Man NEITI Board include the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines and Steel Development representing Government Extractive Industries, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, representing Extractive Industries Revenue and Accountability, while the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation  will be representing the National Oil and Gas Company.

The Board also has a representative of the International Oil Companies. The civil society organisations have Mr. Peter Egbule representing them while the Presidents of Nigeria Mining & Geosciences Society and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria are representing Extractive Industries Professional Unions on the Board.

In addition, the Board also has representatives from the six geopolitical zones, including;  Dr. Bashir Bature Gafai for the North-West, Dr. Iliya Gashinbaki, representing the North-East, Dr. Godwin Akor Ogwuche,  North-Central, Mr. Nze Joe Ibeh, South East while the South South and South-West are represented by Awowo Christian and Professor Damilola Olawuyi respectively.