OrderPaperToday – The International Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has adjudged Nigeria to have attained ‘‘Satisfactory Progress’’, the highest rating in implementation of its standards by member countries.

The decision followed the consideration of the Report of Nigeria’s Validation conducted by the EITI international Secretariat in July 2018.

“Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard remains in many respects a model for implementing countries globally,” Chair of the EITI Board, Fredrik Reinfeldt said while announcing the decision at the 42nd meeting of the EITI Board recently held in Kyiv, Ukraine.

At a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja to commemorate the landmark achievement, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio congratulated the Federal Government, NEITI’s board, the media, CSOs, donors, and companies operating in the extractive industry.

According to Adio, the achievement has brought the country into global limelight for positive reasons, a departure from the poor ratings Nigeria has suffered in other global rankings.

“EITI Validation is a major achievement that did not come easy. We are very proud of this milestone. All Nigerians should be proud, from the President down to the ordinary person on the street.

“Our country hardly gets in the news for the right reasons. Our ranking on most governance and development indexes, even when improving, leaves much to be desired,” he said.

Speaking further, the Executive Secretary revealed that out of 52 EITI implementing countries, 33 already gone through validation. However, Adio noted that Nigeria is only one of seven countries that has attained Satisfactory Progress, the highest level of progress attainable.

Other lower categories of progress include meaningful progress, inadequate progress, and no progress measured against a maximum of 33 requirements. He explained that measured against 31 requirements, Nigeria scored “Satisfactory Progress” in 29 and “Beyond” satisfactory in two.

The executive Secretary nevertheless stressed that the latest milestone is a journey and not a destination.

“Does it mean everything in the sector is now perfect? No. Does it mean all Nigerians now benefit from the resources? No. Does it mean that resource curse has been reversed in Nigeria? No.

“As I said earlier, validation is not a destination but a journey. It shows what is possible in the sector and beyond. It is a good boost and welcomed development, and should fire all of us to do more.

“Our work is not done. It has just started.”

Earlier NEITI’s Director of Communications, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji gave a presentation on Nigeria’s road to EITI validation. He noted that Nigeria’s Satisfactory Progress validation was long in preparation but detailed.

According to him, in her first attempt in July 2017, Nigeria was adjudged as making ‘‘meaningful progress”. The EITI Board at that time identified gaps on nineteen specific requirements and recommended corrective actions for Nigeria to address by July 2018 before her second Validation.

The major areas of concern by the Board relates to civil society engagement; Multi- Stakeholders Governance; work plan; disclosure on license allocations and license registers.

Other areas include contract disclosure policy; disclosure on state participation; quasi-fiscal expenditures; production and export data; barter and infrastructure agreements; transport revenues; sub-national payments and transfers; social expenditures; comprehensiveness of data; data timeliness; data quality; and contribution to the economy.

He expressed joy that following the hard work and commitment of all stakeholders, Nigeria emerged as one of the few countries with satisfactory progress in the implementation of EITI.

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