TOWARDS THE LEGISLATIVE HARMONISATION OF THE NEITI BILL: ISSUES AND CONCERNS
ISBN: 978-078-080-837-2 2007
The NEITI bill is intended to check the corruption and other sharp practices inherent in the country’s oil and solid minerals industry. Before its passage by both chambers of the federal legislature, industry operators, policy makers and the civil society groups subjected the bill to a series of debate.
But there’s a concern about the provision of section 3(d) and (e) of the NEITI Bill dealing with the powers of the law to obtain information from companies on the volume of the sales of oil, gas, and other minerals extracted, but provides that such information shall not be used in any manner prejudicial to the contractual obligation or proprietary interests of the extractive industry company. This was why sensitization programmes were introduced among the media, society groups, lawmakers, and stakeholders in the industry, to review certain clauses of the Bills with the hope of bringing them in conformity with the anti-corruption posture of the civilian administration and best practice
Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of the projects were among others, to;
- Promote a change in clause 3(d)and (e) of the NEITI Bill;
- Advocate for the passage of the NEITI Bill;
- Build public awareness to support the passage of the bill.
During the dialogue participants observed as follow:
- That the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative as put on the table by its international patrons like Tony Blair and George Soros, is not a finished product to be adopted hook, line and sinker but something to be redefined to suit the Nigeria circumstances
- That the bill passed merely creates the obligators on the part of the NEITI secretariat to disseminate, by way of publication of records, reports or otherwise any information concerning revenues received by the Federal Government from all extractive industry companies, as contained in section 3(h)
- That the provision introduced by the Senate, to a verylarge extent is a very important provision of the Bill namely,Section 3(d), is capable of subverting the entire spirit and letters of Bill
- That it is easy for mining and oil companies to publish what they pay to the Nigerian government in the name of transparency but that does not mean that Nigeria therefore, understands the technology, the accounting process, what the oil companies pump and other intricacies of the oil industry as to say that Nigerians control it.
At the end of the deliberations, participants recommended that;
- Nigerians to decide whether it is an audit or a regulatory body that is important about the EITI process. If it is an audit body that is desired, the job should be assigned to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation
- Specifically, participants took exception to a number of provisions in the Bill as passed by the NASS, strongly requesting it to rework such provision within the parameters of the Harmonized process.
- A clause is required which would expand the meaning of transparency beyond the narrow meaning of revenue receipts by governments to include disclosure of moneys paid to oil bearing communities as part of the corporate social responsibility of companies.
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