BY BOLAJI AJALA
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has said that the freedom of Information Act, FOI, is a tool for effective implementation of NEITI, audit report.
According to the agency’s new publication, NEITI Open Audit, the signing of the FOI into law has strengthened implementation of EITI processes in Nigeria, whose principle is built on public disclosures of payments and receipts in revenue management and governance process of the extractive sector.
According to NEITI Executive Secretary, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, “the Freedom of Information Act is timely, supportive and complimentary to NEITI Act 2007 especially at this time that NEITI is set to expand its operations to the solid minerals sector, resource disbursement and physical allocation of revenues to tiers and level of governments.”
She noted that the basic goal of NEITI/EITI process which the Freedom of Information seeks to promote is to empower citizens with information, to ask informed questions, debate and dialogue on resource use and allocations with a view to making quality contributions on development issues that shape their daily lives.
“Just like the NEITI Act of 2007, the Freedom of Information Act 2011, will encourage more disclosures by companies and agencies to provide information to NEITI Auditors on who paid or received what in revenue flow sand governance procedures in the oil, gas and solid minerals sector. This information is fundamental for development planning, accountability and transparency,” she added.
Accordingly, she said both laws were important and complimentary, aimed at pulling down “all boundaries of secrecy and enthrone openness, transparency, voluntary disclosures as well as dissemination of public transactions to enable citizens make valuable inputs on issues that affect their future.”