Programme Coordinator, Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), Tengi George-Ikoli has called for better management of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources with a view to repositioning the country as one of the fastest growing economy in the world.
George-Ikoli, who made the appeal at the presentation of soft media launch of NNRC’s 2019 benchmark exercise report in Abuja, expressed worry that Nigeria’s over reliance on oil, undiversified revenue base and other economic and social factors accounted for the poor management of its petroleum resource wealth.
According to her, while Nigeria’s resource strategy is strengthened in 2017 with the approval of the national oil and gas policies by the Federal Executive Council, they are yet to be fully implemented.
The meeting explored Nigeria’s performance against 12 pre-conditions to effective resource management proposed by the NNRC to determine how far or close Nigeria might be in achieving its objectives. The report is the fourth in the series of benchmarking exercise reports produced by NNRC, carried out to provide an assessment of governance on Nigeria’s petroleum wealth. The previous reports were published in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
Also at the meeting, Mr Opaluwa Enebi, Research Associate, Centre for Public Policy Alternative, said that the government has acknowledged Nigeria’s unhealthy dependence on oil and gas resources, but nevertheless, the implementation of the oil and gas strategy fell short of set targets in policy documents.
Enebi emphasised the need to make decisions that appear not to ignore prevailing global oil market conditions, adding that the launch of publicly available beneficial ownership register may help address ownership and transparency issues regarding oil and gas resources. While commending the Nigerian government for taking steps to address gas flaring through the kick off of Nigerian gas flare commercialisation programme, he said that the sovereign wealth fund recorded growth in the period under review.
“Domestic gas utilisation improved significantly in the period under review largely driven by demand from the power and industrial sector, however, liquidity challenges in the power sector threatens successes,” he said. Enebi pointed out that effective oversight functions of the National Assembly had yielded positive results to the growth of the sector.
According to him, some oversight activities have resulted in prosecution and conviction of some indicted persons. He noted that specific recommendations for sanctions had also been transmitted to the executive arm of government for implementation.
“Audit office is still experiencing capacity challenges as many Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are still non-compliant with submission of audit reports to Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. “Investigation and prosecution of corruption has continued during the review period. However, harassment of whistle blowers may threaten effectiveness of the policy.
“Critical pieces of legislation suffered setbacks during the review period and this includes the PIGB, whistleblowers protection Act, Witness protection program Act, Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA),’’ Enebi said