04 September 2013, Abuja -The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has called on the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to place all oil prospecting licences and mining leases in the public domain in conformity with global standards.
It said there was a need for transparency in the acquisition and award of oil prospecting licences and mining leases.
The Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, made the call at an appraisal workshop for awardees of oil prospecting licences organised by the DPR.
Ahmed said the absence of transparency in the acquisition and awards of oil prospecting licences, mining leases, financing mechanisms; inappropriate disclosure of oil and gas production figures and revenues had characterised Nigeria’s extractive sector.
“As you may be aware, during the recently concluded global conference of EITI in Australia, the global body formulated new standards. Publishing contracts helps citizens evaluate which benefits and protections their country receives in exchange for access to publicly owned natural resources,” she said.
According to her, contract transparency also helps citizens to monitor whether companies and governments live up to their obligations as contained in the agreements.
Ahmed said making the bidding processes transparent and competitive would ensure that the right people with the requisite expertise got the operational licences.
The executive secretary underscored the importance of adherence to due process, transparency and accountability in the management of extractive resource wealth, which she said had become a global order.
Ahmed pointed out that there was a coordinated international response against corruption and impunity in the management of revenues accruing from the extractive sector.
She observed that there was the need for the installation of dependable metering infrastructure to guarantee accurate measurement of crude produced at extraction and distribution points as was done in other oil producing countries of the world.
This, she said, would guarantee accurate reporting of Nigeria’s crude production levels, earnings and losses from the sector.
According to the statement, the Director, DPR, Mr. George Osahon, identified funding, lack of data, capacity issues, uncertainty and insecurity as some of the challenges hindering the development of acreages and investments in the sector.
– Okechukwu Nnodim, The Punch