In a move towards deepening transparency, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has secured the trust of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that the terms of all contracts signed in the petroleum sector are open and totally accessible to Nigerians as required by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji made the disclosure in Abuja at the end of a five-day knowledge sharing workshop for his staff in Abuja. According to him, a committee to resolve issues surrounding contracts disclosure in the industry will be set up next week and expected to deliver on their mandate.
As an EITI implementing nation, Nigeria on January 1, 2021 became obligated to disclose terms of contracts entered into in the oil and gas industry and in the solid minerals sector.
Since then, the NNPC has signed two major contracts, first a $1.5 billion deal for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery and another deal with its Production Sharing Contract, PSC, partners, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo, Total E&P, and Nigeria Agip to renew Oil Mining Lease, OML 118, for another 20 years.
However, experts and industry stakeholders insist that very scant knowledge of the deals are known.
Nonetheless, Orji explained that there needs to be an understanding on what needs to be disclosed and what is to be withheld to retain the sanctity of contracts.
He said: “Yesterday I had a one-hour session with the GMD of NNPC on how NNPC and NEITI can develop a framework of engagement beginning with NNPC’s disclosure on certain contracts that they are currently pursuing.
“We need to develop that framework and it will specify what we disclose? How do we disclose it? When do we disclose and at what time? Who will consume the information that will be disclosed and how will that information be used in a way and manner not to jeopardize the operations of the covered entities in a manner that is open, transparent and accessible.
“I am not able to make further comments on this because the GMD NNPC and I, and the Director of DPR, have agreed to form a nucleus, a joint committee to develop a framework that will guide our organizations, protect the interest of our country, and still provide information that will be useful to investors, citizens, civil societies and the media”, he added.
The NEITI boss who has just been elected chair of EITI global network on contract transparency noted that his election was in recognition of the work Nigeria has done in the area of contract transparency.
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