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NEITI boss, others laud unveiling of RemTrack

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NEITI

*say mobile app advances Nigeria’s quest for transparency in the extractive industry

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio and civil society organizations have lauded the unveiling of RemTrack, a mobile application for tracking transparency and accountability issues in the oil and gas sector.

RemTrack is a technology-for-development intervention built to organize the audit reports into user-friendly data on remediation issues, progress and outcomes of reconciliation, and the covered entities.

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The app is designed for android and apple devices to be used in mobile phones and other hand-held devices.

Speaking at an event on Tuesday in Lagos to witness the formal public presentation of the technology tool developed and deployed by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative in conjunction with the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC) of NEITI, the NEITI boss noted that the app is a major milestone in attempts to fix remediation issues arising from his agency’s reports.

He explained that RemTrack has come to simplify the process of tracking issues and implementation of recommendations arising from periodic reports of the agency, and more importantly, to involve all stakeholders, whether players in the sector, journalists, civil society organisations and all citizens who have mobile devices, in the process of remediation.

“This is a major milestone for the Civil Society Steering Committee but also for us at the level of NEITI and also for the country as other people have mentioned,” he said, adding that “this is something that all Nigerians should take credit for, especially the people who midwifed the process.

“Yes, it is an app but it is also more than an app for reasons that others have mentioned. This is very significant; it is a major milestone in the quest for transparent and accountable governance of our extractive resources. The app is called RemTrack for a reason, it is remediation tracker and as mentioned before, remediation is a critical part of our work. We do 3 things; we do reporting, which is publishing the audits, we do dissemination because there is no need just publishing so if we do the audits we have to disseminate it to critical stakeholders and beyond that, we so what is known as remediation.

“This signifies the quest to leverage on technology to solve problems. It is a very sensible and smart thing to do in the age that we live in. We live in an age that is the age of technology so, if we don’t take advantage of it, we are just shooting ourselves in the leg.”

Also speaking, Chairman of the Civil Society Steering Committee of NEITI, Mr Kolawole Banwo said the RemTrack tool would enhance easy engagement by all and make accurate information readily available for use at any time. He said he felt fulfilled that he actively participated in the process that birthed the app and lauded OrderPaper for achieving the feat.

A representative of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mr Babatunde Odu, expressed delight about the RemTrack app, saying it would aid the commission to effectively carry out its functions.

He said “The core mandate of my organisation is to monitor accruals into the federation account and disbursement from the same account to the three tiers of government, adding that this is an app that will provide essential information to even ordinary Nigerians on what exactly is going on or being generated, though in the oil and gas and extractive industries will go a long way in enhancing our operations in RMFAC.”

Speaking on the app, the executive director of OrderPaper Advocacy, Mr Oke Epia, assured that the app was not designed to humiliate or deride anyone, but solely for the good of the country.

“We have not designed it as a tool to deride or witch-hunt anybody or stakeholder. Rather, we are putting in the hands of citizens, a simplified dataset of knowledge and germane information on the state of Nigeria’s extractive industry as contained in the annual audits of NEITI.

“All that we have is all that we have been given by the transparency watchdog and nothing more. This is, therefore, to assure you that the integrity and sanctity of data contained in the app have met the highest possible standards of co-creation and authorization. We are careful to place in the hands of citizens a verified and validated tool that promises only healthy, factual and evidence-based engagements we all will be happy about at the end of the day.

“As we have in our contract mobile app for civic engagements in budget and public projects tracking, the RemTrack app boasts of the highest standards of content verification and validation which have gone through layers of vetting across value chains”, he said.

Vanguard

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