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Nigeria challenged to be more transparent

24 May 2013, 09:06Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - A prominent organisation in the oil industry has demanded transparency in the trade of the commodity in Nigeria.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), called for an end to the secrecy over the exact volume of oil production and revenue from oil.

Nigeria, which began commercial oil production over 50 years ago, had through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), been given an estimated volume of production, which in most cases varied with data by the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

However, EITI, said it has approved a revised standard of performance requiring Nigeria and its other 38 implementing countries to release wide-ranging new information about their oil, gas and mining industries.

Rather than merely disclosing revenue data, Nigeria, who is Africa’s biggest crude exporter, and other countries will now need to release information about production volumes, the companies holding licenses, state-owned companies, corporate social responsibility payments and transfers from central to local governments to be considered in line with the EITI Standard.

“The EITI has finally recognised that, when it comes to complex industries, merely disclosing payments is not enough.

“By including contracts and licenses, beneficial ownership, state-owned companies and production information, the new standard could make EITI more effective in addressing the vast governance challenges facing resource-rich countries,” said Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Revenue Watch Institute.

The new EITI Standard is a result of a year of negotiations between governments, companies and non-governmental groups on the initiative’s international board.

EITI countries will now have to provide detailed information about each oil, gas and mining license.

The countries have been urged to maintain a public register that would list the company name, location and duration of each license, information currently missing in major producers such as Kazakhstan and emerging producers like Mozambique.

EITI reports will contain an explanation of how licenses were awarded or transferred during the year covered, and details on applicants and criteria used in any license auctions.

EITI requires reporting of revenue data by each project, bringing EITI in line with this spreading international standards.

- CAJ News



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