BudgIT, a civic-tech organization leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance across four African countries, including Nigeria, has renewed its call for reform in Nigeria’s most financially viable sector – extractives.
BudgIT made this call alongside other CSOs after its quarterly Extractive Consultative Forum on March 9, 2021, with CSOs, including Stakeholder Democracy Network, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, Global Rights and Policy Alert.
While presenting BudgIT’s Extractive Industry Reform Document, titled: “The Next Frontier: Extractive Industry Reforms,” BudgIT’s Extractive Transparency Lead, Adejoke Akinbode, raised the discussion on lingering issues in the sector, including ineffective Benefit Transfer mechanisms and commercially inefficient state-owned oil company, among others.
Akinbode also highlighted solutions that should be explored to maximise the sector’s fortune for economic growth and citizen’s development, as documented in the nation’s extractive document.
Speaking on other issues, Chima Williams, the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, Edo State, emphasised expanding conversations around state capture and illicit financial flows, and the possibility of disaggregating the Joint Venture arrangement of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Williams also emphasised on what non-state actors must do to accelerate the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of Stakeholder Democracy Network, Florence Kayemba, expressed her concerns on the low quality of petrol being imported into the country.
Kayemba asserted that her organisation’s assessment in Nigeria’s South South shows that artisan refined oil is confirmed to be of better quality than what the Nigerian Government was importing into the country.
Other participants harped on the need to have a regulation for NNPC’s cost of collection as a panacea to end the discretionary deductions by the corporation.
Likewise, they also noted that the Nigerian Government and non-state actors need to start paying attention to happenings in the solid mineral industry, adding that in years to come, oil may become unmarketable.
In the final remarks, there was an 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.
“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,” said Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s Principal Lead.
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.