The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it will pay special attention to mining in the country, to ensure that revenue accruing from the sector are properly captured and utilised.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, made this known on during a strategic engagement with members of the National Association of Energy Correspondents ( NAEC) on Tuesday in Lagos.
Orji said the mandate of NEITI was to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industry for the benefit of Nigerians.
He noted that though the NEITI Act of 2007 was focused on the oil and gas industry, the agency was now moving toward solid minerals, which were abundant in the country.
According to him, NEITI will soon approach the National Assembly for an amendment of the act to enable the agency carry out its functions properly.
“We are going to pay special attention to mining. The mining industry today contributes 0.18 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product and oil is fast losing its relevance due to global energy transition.
“Nigeria has gold, diamond, copper and other minerals, so we want to shift our focus to these areas ,” Orji said.
He said crude oil theft and illegal mining were depriving government of much-needed revenue which could be utilised for infrastructure development across the country.
Orji said NEITI was collaborating with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources to ensure more accountability in the oil and gas sector.
He expressed optimism that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly would strengthen transparency in the industry.
The executive secretary urged the media to continue to support the agency in the actualisation of its mandate, adding that the 2019 NEITI report would soon be released to the public.
Responding, Mr Olu Phillips, Chairman, NAEC, assured NEITI of the association’s support, for improvement of transparency in the extractive industry.