By Obas Esiedesa
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji on Tuesday said the effort of the agency and its partner civil society organizations is geared towards ensuring that the business environment Nigeria is improved upon to expand businesses that create jobs in the country.
Dr Orji who stated this in Abuja at a NEITI CSOs dialogue on the EITI’s implementation and emerging issues noted that pushing for reforms in the extractive sector ensures that government revenues are accounted for.
He stated that the location of Twitter African region headquarters in Ghana rather than in Nigeria was a wake-up call for the country to move quicker in improving the business environment.
He explained that there is “a very strong link between engagements of CSOs, the content of our reports and the impact that we wish to showcase and record as part of the inputs into the ongoing reforms in the extractive industry.
“NEITI believes that this will ultimately lead to improvements in the lives of Nigerians. Sometimes, people fail to make a connection between the work we are doing and the need to have more money available to government and improve the investment climate for businesses to thrive”.
Dr Orji pointed out that “the kind of work NEITI and other anti-corruption agencies are doing are designed to improve the business environment in Nigeria to attract such huge investment.
“You know that a global organization like Twitter if it establishes an office in a country, it has implication on jobs, foreign exchange earnings and on a number of other factors”.
He stressed that reforming the mining, oil and gas industry for instance would improve the government’s revenue in terms of its take from the sector to reduce budget deficits, provide more funds for the government to build roads, provide water, electricity and security.
He assured the CSOs that NEITI would continue to engage with them to improve their understanding of emerging issues in the EITI such as contract transparency, beneficial ownership, gender, environment and energy transition.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Uche of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption programme of the British Council said for most developing countries the extractive industries play a major role in their economic activities and revenue for the government.
He harped on the need for reforms in the sector, urging CSOs and media to lead the charge in ensuring that reforms happen in the sector.
Also speaking, Mr Oke Epia, Executive Director, OrderPaper, who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, pledged the support of the groups in ensuring that the reforms needed in the sector are implemented.
He pointed out that CSOs were not adversaries of government, but partners who wish to see a better country.