THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has called on the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to place all oil prospecting licences and mining leases in the public domain in conformity with global standards. The agency said that this will bring transparency in the acquisition and award of oil prospecting licences and mining leases.
Zainab Ahmed, executive secretary, NEITI, said the absence of transparency in the acquisition and awards of oil prospecting licences, mining leases, financing mechanisms; inappropriate disclosure of oil and gas production figures and revenues had characterised Nigeria’s extractive sector. “As you may be aware, during the recently concluded global conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, in Australia, the global body formulated new standards. Publishing contracts helps citizens to evaluate which benefits and protections their country receives in exchange for access to publicly owned natural resources,” she said.
According to her, contract transparency also helps citizens to monitor whether companies and governments live up to their obligations as contained in the agreements. She said making the bidding processes transparent and competitive would ensure that the right people with the requisite expertise got the operational licences.
She underscored the importance of adherence to due process, transparency and accountability in the management of extractive resource wealth which, she said, had become a global order. Ahmed pointed out that there was a coordinated international response against corruption and impunity in the management of revenues accruing from the extractive sector.
Ahmed observed that there was the need for the installation of dependable metering infrastructure to guarantee accurate measurement of crude produced at extraction and distribution points as is done in other oil producing countries of the world. This, she said, would guarantee accurate reporting of Nigeria’s crude production levels, earnings and losses from the sector.
N16 billion Vote for Rural Electrification
THE federal government has a budget of N16 billion for rural electrification projects this year. Zainab Kuchi, minister of state for power, said a large percentage of the sum would be used to revive the numerous abandoned electricity projects scattered across various rural communities in the country.
“The funding for the Rural Electrification Agency, REA is N16 billion this year and that will go squarely for the development of the abandoned projects in our rural areas. The abandoned projects have been identified and we advise proper funding for these projects,” she said. Kuchi who was speaking at the inauguration of an 11-man board for the Rural Electrification Agency, REA in Abuja, stated that even though the agency had been in existence for a long time, its presence was poorly felt by rural dwellers. According to her, the inauguration of the board was aimed at reviving the nearly comatose agency and stressed that the members should focus on the development of appropriate technologies for rural electrification.
“Our target is to achieve 75 per cent rural electrification access by 2020. This is your charge. Your key indicators will include the number of rural communities that have access to electricity and the number of investors who we are able to attract to the rural electrification sub-sector. Others are the extent to which we are able to garner information on local technology and work towards their application in the rural electrification agency; and how many jobs we are able to create in the rural economy and the impact to which we are able to have on socio-economic development in the rural areas.”
The minister said electricity, under Nigerian laws fell within the concurrent list, adding that the federal, state and local governments could participate in its provision. She explained that the new policy focus was to ensure greater synergy in terms of planning, content of the programmes and projects, and in actual implementation.
Shettima on Nigerian Transition Electricity Market
THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said the ministry of power should declare the Nigerian Transition Electricity Market, TEM, open for operation without further delays. Abdulkadir Shettima, NERC, general manager for market rates and tariff, said the commission was ready to enforce full compliance with safety and health regulations in the power sector especially with the imminent takeover of operations by private owners of successor generation and distribution companies created from the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
He said the ministry of power should commence the formal registration of participants in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, noting that the commission was waiting on the achievement of these conditions as precedents to asking the ministry to declare the Nigerian Transition Electricity Market, TEM, open.
Specifically, he requested the market operators to speed up its execution of the market participation agreements within one week to allow the TEM takeoff, adding that the market operations system regulations, market settlement system, application for admission processes and procedures for registration of market participants as well as system operations and procedure amongst others were yet to be executed.
Similarly, Shettima disclosed the commission was yet to receive the half year operational report of TCN, and asked the transmission company to provide it with its half year operational report, to avoid possible instances of contravening extant regulations in the sector.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Sep. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT