By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A civic-tech organization, BudgIT, and other Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, weekend, demanded thorough and practical reforms in Nigeria’s extractive industry for the benefit of all citizens.
This was contained in a statement signed by Communications Associate, BudgIT, Iyanu Fatoba, where it explained that BudgIT and other CSOs after its quarterly ‘Extractive Consultative Forum’ on March 9, 2021, including Stakeholder Democracy Network, SDN, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, PLSI, Global Rights, Policy Alert, and other stakeholders in the Extractive Sector, unanimously called for reform in the country’s most financially viable sector , which is the extractive sector.
The statement made it known that in a paper on BudgIT’s Extractive Industry Reform Document titled ‘The Next Frontier: Extractive Industry Reforms’, Extractive Transparency Lead, BudgIT, Adejoke Akinbode, pointed at lingering issues in the sector.
According to Akinbode ineffective Benefit Transfer mechanisms and commercially inefficient state-owned oil company, among others serve as part of the challenges in the nation’s extractive industry, which she also highlighted solutions that should be explored to maximize the sector’s fortune for economic growth and citizens’ development, “as documented in our extractive document.”
Meanwhile, the Principal Lead, BudgIT, Gabriel Okeowo said, “With this, non-state actors in the sector will have a relatively predictable funding source cycle, independent of changing donor priorities to enable them to adapt to changing political dynamics that influence the implementation or sustenance of reforms.”
The Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Edo State, Chima Williams, expressed concern over state capture and illicit financial flows, and looked at the possibility of disaggregating the Joint Ventures arrangement of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and also emphasised on what non-state actors must do to accelerate the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
Also speaking in same vein, the Executive Director, SDN, Florence Kayemba, raised concerns over sheer neglect and poor check that has led to low quality of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, imported into the country.
“This quality is far below the standard of what is obtainable in the environment where the oil is being imported”, Kayemba asserted.
According to her, SDN’s assessment in the South-South region of the country on petrol refined by artisal refiners is better in quality when compared with the quality of PMS the Nigerian government is importing into the country.
The statement reads in part, “Other participants added a need to have a regulation for NNPC’s cost of collection as a panacea to end the discretionary deductions by NNPC.
“Likewise, the Nigerian government and non-state actors need to start paying attention to happenings in the solid mineral industry, noting that in years to come, oil may become unmarketable.
“In the final remarks, there was a unanimous agreement that CSOs working in the extractive sector should consider developing a framework to raise an endowment fund that would guarantee access to resources to pursue necessary actions by civil society groups.
As a final resolution, participants agreed that there is a need for a joint advocacy campaign on extractive reform by CSOs, which will ultimately include using litigation where required, to make the government comply with operational processes that would be in the Nigeria people’s best interest.