By Abubakar Jimoh
The Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) with theme “Linking Illicit Financial Flows to the Sustainable Development Goals” held recently in Nairobi, Kanya, emphasized the importance of domestic resources mobilisation through concerted effort to address IFF, corruption, tax evasion and avoidance, to effectively finance the implementation of SDGs at country level. Apart from mitigating fraud and corruption in public contracts, open contracting was observed as paramount to improve efficiency and harness funding for effective implementation of SDGs.
There are indications that the effective management of extractive sector through open contracting in accordance with the principles of ‘African Mining Vision’ is crucial to boost Nigeria’s growth and harness her domestic resources for impactful implementation of SDGs in the country.
These disclosures were made by Kolawole Banwo, Programme Manager (Legislative & Policy Advocacy), CISLAC, while speaking on ‘Nigerian Multi-stakeholders’ Perspective on Open Contracting’ at the recently concluded Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Programme Manager, who bemoaned absence of existing legal backing to operationalize open contracting in the oil and gas sector reiterated that while open contracting mitigates fraud and corruption and improves service delivery for citizens, ‘African Mining Vision’ as a pathway formulated by African nations that puts the continent’s long term and broad development objectives at the heart of all policy making concerned with mineral extraction; and if effectively implemented will enhance desired growth and development at all levels.
He said: “The African Mining Vision was introduced to develop a diversified and globally competitive African mineral industry which contributes to broad economic and social growth through the creation of economic linkages; build a transparent and accountable mineral sector in which resource rents are maximized and utilized to promote broad economic and social development; promote good governance of the mineral sector, which ensures citizens participation in mineral assets and equity in the distribution of benefits”.
Banwo listed enabling present legislative and policy considerations to achieve the underlying objective of the open contracting to include Public Procurement Act 2007—requirement for data, citizens’ participation, access to Information; Freedom of Information Act 2011—proactive disclosure; access to information on request; Country Statement From Nigeria at London Anti-Corruption Summit dated 12th May, 2016; releasing documents and data at each stage of a contracting process as machine readable, flexible, extensible, user friendly data – based around a unique ID; and Public Procurement and Fiscal Transparency.
He highlighted that Public Procurement and Fiscal Transparency works towards full implementation of principles of open contracting standard data with specific focus on major projects as an early priority, while providing an opportunity to the concerned citizens to be part of the oil licensing process—development, community rights, environmental issues, livelihoods, beneficial ownership, Local Content.
He however, bemoaned the current challenges surrounding open contracting in the country like the direct negotiation of oil and gas licences, lack of unique identity on number across contract stages, absence of enabling legislation backing open contracting in oil and gas sector, overwhelmed coordinating entity, and discrepancies in procurement data mapping, collection and presentation.
Meanwhile, relevant provision of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) requires implementing countries to disclose contracts and agreements that establish the terms for the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals.
The Programme Manager further recalled that in 2016, the country’s validation of EITI implementation observed inadequacy in the disclosure of Policy on Contract.