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How contract transparency in extractive sector will benefit Nigeria – stakeholders

By Obas Esiedesa

Stakeholders working in the extractive sector have noted that implementing a regime of contract transparency in Nigeria’s petroleum and solid minerals mining industries would boost the revenue available to the government to finance development projects across the country and end corruption in the sector.

Speaking at a capacity building workshop on contract transparency in Owerri, Imo State on Monday, energy experts and civil society actors said removing secrecy around contracts in the sector would ensure that Nigeria gets the best benefits from the industries.

The Executive Director of Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Faith Nwadishi who spoke at the opening of the workshop for CSOs and journalists, said reporting on contract transparency is part of Nigeria’s obligation to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

“From January 1, 2021 Nigeria is expected to report on the implementation of contract transparency in extractive sector as part requirement for EITI validation.

CTA Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi

Speaking on the objectives of the workshop, she said: “Understanding contracts in the extractive industry is a very technical area, today’s workshop is to build the capacity of media and civil society actors who will be advocating for the inclusion of transport transparency.

“We have an opportunity; it is already in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), hoping that it will remain in the PIB. But more importantly, for the implementation of the requirement 2.4 of the EITI, Nigeria is a signatory to the EITI and one of the implementing countries and is expected to put in public domain all contracts that are signed in Nigeria from Jan 1 2021 but is also encouraged to put in public domain other contracts that were signed before that date”.

Also speaking, Dr. Michael Uzoigwe of Facility for Oil Sector Reform (FOSTER), said opening up the sector to citizens would ensure that Nigerian get maximum benefits from the operations of the sector.

He urged CSO and the media to continue to monitor the progress of the PIB, especially as it concerns the sections on contract transparency.

On his part, the National Coordinator of Media Initiative of Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI), Mr. Bassey Udo observed that with the PIB before the National Assembly, the struggle to enthrone a regime of openness and accountability in the sector has entered another stage.

He assured that journalists who have signed up for the struggle would keep the issue on the front burner of public discuss.

On their part, energy experts, Nduka Ikeyi and Leonard Ugbaja who spoke on contracts in the sector and framework for the implementation of contract transparency, said its implementation would improve accountability in the sector significantly.

Written by ExpressDay

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