PWYP Nigeria pushes President for reform in extractives

A new campaign by PWYP Nigeria, together with wider civil society in Nigeria, is urging new President Buhari to push through the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill within his first 100 days in office. Despite being a resource rich country, Nigeria hasn’t benefited from a well-governed oil and gas sector but instead has been plagued by corruption and mismanagement.

The bill seeks to clean up the sector and could play an important role in increasing opportunities for economic growth in the country through openness, competition and transparency. The call for the bill was made in a communique, accessible here, by PWYP Nigeria and other civil society groups after a five day workshop to build capacities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. Join them in convincing President Buhari to push for the adoption of the bill on Twitter.

Nigeria’s freedom of information bill – great on paper, less so in practice

On paper the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act 2011 appears simple and straight forward. However, when it comes to application and enforcement there are difficulties in getting the required information, I don’t know if it is the same with other countries that have the Freedom of Information bill.

Ensuring transparency and accountability in a system that, over the years, has always been shrouded in secrecy and opacity can be daunting, if not outright difficult. A legal mind trying to understand the Freedom of Information bill will tell you that the government only releases information that they feel they want to release.
Publish What You Pay Nigeria has been seeking the release of an audit report commissioned by the Federal government to investigate an allegation of the missing $ 20 billion naira by the then Central Bank governor of Nigeria against the country’s National oil company (the Nigeria National Petroleum cooperation, NNPC). The investigation of the allegation was done by the reputable auditing firm Pricewaterhousecoppers. After the investigation, the auditing firm released the report to the Federal Minister for Finance. The country was only told of some selected sections of the report. In PWYP Nigeria’s bid to get the full findings of the report, we set in motion to look at ways of assessing the report and that is where our problem started.

PWYP wrote two letters requesting to see the audit report through the only means available – the Freedom of Information Bill. The first letter was ignored. The second letter was written specifying the relevant sections of the bill that requires that the minister honoured PWYP Nigeria’s request. The second letter was responded by the Honourable Minister, without the report, but with the advice that we channel our request to two agencies involved in the NNPC and the office of the Auditor general of the federation. We did as the Minister suggested. The two agencies in question responded – instead of releasing the report, they requested that we direct our Freedom of Information request to the Presidency and another to the Secretary to the government of the Federation. The NNPC wrote to us through their private legal counsel in a three page letter.

The work of transparency and accountability is not easy, especially in the extractive sector of most countries in the south, because of the important role that the sector plays in these economies. In addition some see civil society as irritants and an aberration. The suspicion is both with the government regulators, governments, and the private sector operators in the extractive sector. The era of disclosures and openness in government corporations in the south should be encouraged as it is the only way of ensuring accountability and a reduction in both the endemic and systematic corruption bedevilling Nigeria and other countries.

The adoption of EITI principles by countries should not only be reflected in the yearly audit and release of EITI reports but also in all the enquiries and other issues that relate to openness and accountability. This shouldn’t only apply to the extractive sector but also the internal spending of the EI regulators.

The Freedom of Information act in Nigeria, if well implemented, should ensure that civil society in Nigeria is able to follow the money and hold their governments and regulators accountable for how revenues from extractives are spent. An effective use and implementation of the Freedom of Information act would also support the adoption of the best practices in both the financial and process part of the extractive industry.

Paul Ogwu, Programme officer, Publish What You Pay, Nigeria

Nigeria

PWYP Nigeria was launched in 2004 and has supported effective EITI implementation, including the adoption of an EITI Act. The coalition works to build the capacity of civil society actors in understanding the EITI process and disseminating findings from its reports. It also supports public debates on extractive sector and governance reform and helps disseminate EITI reports in pilot states and local communities. More recently, the coalition is focussing on how to use additional sources of data, including mandatory disclosure reports from major oil and gas companies listed in the United Kingdom and other European countries, to support their advocacy objectives. Along with other coalitions in West Africa, PWYP Nigeria is exploring exploring opportunities to ensure more meaningful participation of, and representation by, women in the coalition’s programmes and institutional structure, as well a greater engagement with women’s rights organisations.

Faith Nwadishi

I have a strong passion for this question as it is an issue close to my heart. I grew up seeing a lot of the injustices surrounding natural resources, yet people have a right to ownership, a right to a voice.

When I was quite young, I realised that I live in a region where there is so much wealth and so much poverty – all at the same time – All the wealth is in the hands of a few.

If you don’t have a voice, if you don’t speak for yourself you will be stuck as the underdog and never at the head. For me, that is the reason I do what I do.

PWYP Nigeria hails UK government on adoption of EU Accounting Directive

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria has commended the UK Government on its adoption of the new EU Accounting Directive and the full implementation of the beneficial ownership regime under the Extractive industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The UK is the first country to adopt the new directive through The Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014 which enters into force today. It is also the first to fully implement beneficial ownership, which undeniably establishes the country as a global leader in the extractive industry scene. With these two policy initiatives the UK government has demonstrated a high level of commitment towards the issue of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.

The London Stock Exchange covers 14% of the world’s extractive capital in terms of the companies involved in the extractive sector. The UK is also home to many of the world’s large extractive companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, some of which are major players in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

By adopting the new EU directive, the UK government has now made it mandatory for extractive and logging companies registered in the UK or listed in the London Stock Exchange to publish a project-by-project report of payments of more than £85,000 made to the government of the countries where they operate, including taxes, royalties, and licence fees. In a related vein, by committing to fully implement the beneficial ownership requirement under the new EITI standards, the UK government will now publicize the beneficial owners of companies which bid for, operate and/or invest in the extractive industries.

Civil Society activists in Nigeria have applauded this development. Ledum Mitee, Chairman of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and former President of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) said: “This is a step in the right direction as Nigeria will rely on the data supplied through project-by-project reporting for proper accountability and transparency in the extractive industry”. He further congratulated the UK government for its commitment to implement full beneficial ownership under the EITI standard. “This will guarantee access to very important information for the work we do and to the benefit of our people” he said.
According to Faith Nwadishi, PWYP Nigeria Coordinator, “These initiatives will equip citizens with more information with which they can hold both governments and companies to account for the management of our natural resource wealth as well as provide safeguards against corruption. This indeed marks an important step forward in the drive towards translating Nigeria’s extractive wealth into better living standards for its citizens.

“We call on the Nigerian government to adopt accounting rules similar to the EU Accounting Directive to further drive home the message of transparency and accountability to extractive companies operating in the country”.

PWYP Nigeria also noted that although Nigeria is one of the 12 countries that agreed to pilot implementation of beneficial ownership last year, the implementation has been pegged at corporate ownership only. The campaign therefore urged the Nigerian government to follow the lead of the UK and fully implement beneficial ownership in line with the new EITI standards by incorporating the requirement in the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly. It also called on the US government and the American Petroleum Institute (API) to remove all the stumbling blocks associated with the implementation of Dodd Frank’s Section 1504 law so that citizens of resource rich countries like Nigeria can be further empowered hold their governments accountable for the utilisation of their natural resource common wealth.

According to Mitee, “There is a clear need for Nigeria to firm up and extend implementation to enhance our global anti-corruption rating, institutionalise transparency and accountability in governance and make our natural resource wealth work for the benefit of our citizens”.
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Notes for editors:

Publish What You Pay Nigeria is the Nigeria Chapter of the global coalition.

Media contact:
Paul Ogwu

Office: PWYP Nigeria ,Plot 1248, 2nd Floor, Behind Wadata House,Aminu Kano Crescent , Wuse 11, Abuja.Tell: + 2347030190560, +2347056265914,08106030622,Email;publishwhatyoupaynig@gmail.com
www.publishwhatyoupay.org

Testing the PWYP coalition model

The Overseas Development Institute carried out a study testing PWYP’s coalition model. Below is the introduction, click here to read the full report.

Introduction

Since its inception in June 2002, the PWYP campaign coalition has grown from a few UK-based organisations to become a global network of more than 700 organisations in almost 60 countries organised into a fairly loose alliance of affiliated national coalitions. Some of these coalitions share the same PWYP brand and logo, while others have distinct and independent identities. All, however, share the same status of affiliation, without differentiation.

With the growth and evolution of the global campaign has come two particular challenges. Firstly increasing demands on the international secretariat for coordination and support to national coalitions far outstrip its current capacities. Secondly, despite the important achievements of the campaign at the international level, national coalitions continue to face numerous operational challenges, which undermine their effectiveness to advance the advocacy agenda at national level. These problems are to be found at different levels and to differing degrees, though they are present in almost all coalitions in the resource-rich countries.

With this in mind, this study has two primary objectives:

1.     To test the organisational theory of change (“the coordinated, collective actions of a diverse coalition of organisations will be most effective in driving policy change for greater extractive industry transparency”) and assess the extent (and where, why and how) to which this theory has been proven at national level (or not).

2.     To assess the operational difficulties of coalitions and to recommend good practices for how coalitions can best be managed and supported.

The study began with a review of 10 country coalitions, selected in consultation with the International Secretariat: Ghana, Niger, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Chad, Indonesia, Australia, US and UK. Of the ten countries, field trips were conducted in first four while the remaining six were studied remotely through telephone interviews. 

After preliminary analysis of the country reviews, a number of common themes were identified.  These were tested across a wider sample of opinion through a Delphic consultation conducted through two mechanisms at the PWYP conference in Amsterdam in 2012 – an instant vote system of up to 100 delegates within a session at the conference, and distribution of a paper questionnaire to all participants who were then able to answer on paper or online. The survey received 54 responses.

Read the rest of the report.