The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), the Centre for Transparency Advocacy, (CTA), and Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) on Thursday faulted the level of transparency in oil and mining sectors contracts. They charged stakeholders in the oil and gas industry insisting on the contract transparency clause in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The three parties are said to have called on the National Assembly to fast track the process for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill as the bill would not only enhance transparency in extractive industries contracts, but will also address the issue of secrecy in some deals.
Mr. Kazeem Lameed, NEITI’s Communication and Advocacy Officer, in his message at the Media Round Table organized by CTA in collaboration with MITEI and CONTRANET, on the issue of Contract Transparency, implored the stakeholders to focus on the clause in the bill.
He said that there was no permissible excuse for parties not to disclose their contracts only if they have something to hide.
He further said that ‘section 83 subsection 3 and 5 of the PIB speak directly to the issues of contract transparency in the oil and gas sector of Nigeria.’
According to Faith Nwadishi, the Executive Director, CTA, she revealed that findings made by her organisation and some other partners show that many contracts in the extractive industries were not publicly disclosed, and these contracts include those awarded to service companies for the production of oil and gas from various mineral assets held by joint venture arrangements.
Mr. Leo Ugboaja, FOSTER’s representative, also affirmed that Nigeria has no law that makes contract disclosure mandatory in his presentation entitled ‘Research of Findings’.
He said, ‘There has been no law that mandates contract transparency in the country at the moment except in the PIB which is in the National Assembly.’
In respect to this, the FOSTER’s representative, charged the CSOs to ensure that local contractors that have been operating without a legislature do not succeed in expunging it from the PIB.
He buttressed that, ‘We Nigerians don’t know what the contracts contain,’ clearing that a simple mistake could cause the county a fortune as the service contract is what determines the amount of revenue the country earns from the industry, and not the license contracts.