COMMUNIQUE OF THE POLICY DIALOGUE ON THE NATURAL RESOURCE CHARTER (NRC) AND THE NIGERIA EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE (NEITI) ACT ORGANIZED BY THE AFRICAN CENTRE FOR LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT (CENTRE LSD) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE AND ADVOCACY
The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) in partnership with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) held a policy dialogue on Natural Resource Charter and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act on 27th June, 2013 at the Centre LSD Conference Room, Apo, Abuja.
The objective of the dialogue was to discuss the Natural Resource Charter (NRC) precepts and see how they relate to the NEITI Act and how the NRC can be used to strengthen the NEITI Act.
Participants at the policy dialogue were drawn from Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations working on issues in the oil extractive sector, academia, government and media.
At the dialogue, participants observed the following:
1. There is a clear linkage between overdependence on oil, weak public institutions, corruption and primitive accumulation of wealth.
2. There is an increased mis-management of natural resources which hasled to loss of revenue and resource curse.
3. The NEITI Act and the Natural Resource Charter both exist to improve transparency, accountability and reduce corrupt practices in the extractive industry, particularly in the resource rich countries.
4. The NRC as a guide goes further to include the shared responsibilities of various stakeholders to make governance better in the sector.
5. There have been recent positive developments (laws and regulations) in the international domain to ensure the requirements for disclosure by international oil companies as well as contract transparency.
6. Nigeria in the last two decades has made considerable progress in establishing transparency instruments to improve governance, but this has not been seen in the area of accountability.
7. Although benchmarks developed wholly by Nigerians for Nigeria exists for measuring performance in the oil and gas extractive industry, these parameters are not popular.
8. The NEITI Act is handicapped by virtue of its inability to enforce penalties on erring companies/organizations; furthermore, the inclusion of confidentiality clauses in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will limit NEITI in carrying out her mandates effectively.
9. There is a communication gap between the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Zonal Representatives and their constituencies.
10. Nigeria’s mono economy based on oil revenue and not harnessing other sources of income e.g. tax revenue, plays a great role in the governments’ lack of accountability to its citizens.
After deliberating on these issues, the following recommendations were proffered:
1. Government should diversify her revenue sources to create multiplier effect on the economy.
2. Long term National Development Plans specifying the role of revenues generated from oil and gas in key areas of the economy is needed in order to meet up with global trends. This can be approached through CSOs advocating definite plan of action for proper application of the sovereign wealth fund (SWF) with formula for various sector of the economy, and clear
ways of monitoring the implementation.
3. CSOs should advocate for use of the existing National gas policy, whose contents can enrich the ongoing PIB and debates around its passage. Publicity and citizen awareness around this policy as well as the NEITI Act and NRC should be improved.
4. CSOs need to engage the National Assembly to take cognizance of the NEITI Audits reports and table it on the floor of the house so as to sanction those found wanting in the report and to push for the appointments of the Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT).
5. Nigeria should begin to assess herself based on the NRC precepts and not depend on international organizations assessment and measurement of performance in the sector.
6. Other stakeholders should engage more with the communities where Natural resources are found. Simplified versions of the NEITI and other reports can be used in this venture.
7. CSO’s should make it a duty to ensure that the transparency laws and other laws in the oil and gas (and related matters) sector deliver on their provisions. Public litigation is one tool that can be utilized.
8. CSOs will have to forge stronger partnerships and synergy in working together on the issues of transparency, policy advocacy, policy implementation and accountability in the extractive industry.
Participants commended Centre LSD and CISLAC for putting up the dialogue. They expressed optimism that a continued and robust dialogue of this nature will undoubtedly unleash a regime of accountability into the extractive sector and give more visibility to the values that NEITI is generating to better the lot of Nigerians. To enhance all of these, a closer collaboration between CSOs and NEITI is germane.
1. Mr. Monday Osasah = Centre LSD
2. Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani = CISLAC
3. Dan Nengel = CLP
4. Ms. Victoria Ose = CDD
5. Seyi Moses = PWYP-Nigeria
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