The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on exchange of data, data coordination, data integrity, analysis management and utilisation for national development.
Deputy director/head Communications & Stakeholder Management, Obiageli Onuorah, the who made this known in a statement, said this was the outcome of a meeting in Abuja between the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and the Statistician General of the Federation, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran.
The MoU will define rules of engagement on data sharing and management, access and deployment and as measures to strengthen the integrity of data.
The MoU will also outline areas of mutual cooperation between NEITI and NBS on training and manpower development, improvement of information technology (IT) systems and develop frameworks to enhance operational efficiency.
The MoU will further outline modalities and frameworks for the partnership and collaboration on inter-agency partnership, managing information and data on Beneficial Ownership Disclosures which is required to mitigate tax evasion, illicit financial flows and terrorism financing, Contract Transparency- how many contracts were awarded, the standard and quality of the contracts, Gender and Environment.
“These pieces of information are required to empower citizens with the knowledge of what number of contracts have been awarded and to which company and the ownership of the companies”, Dr. Orji affirmed.
The executive secretary of NEITI explained that cooperation and partnership with agencies like NBS has become necessary to ensure uniformity and standards on data dissemination, originating from the two agencies especially at the sub-national levels, for use in Nigeria and to the outside world.
This meeting is to create opportunities to discuss and agree on how NEITI can support NBS with data from the extractive industries while NBS supports NEITI’s expansion of its operations to socio economic development issues arising from oil, gas and mining operations in Nigeria”. Dr Orji stated.
Dr Orji hailed the NEITI-Partnership with NBS which is coming at a time that data from NEITI’s report has been internationally acknowledged to be credible by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in its recently released report of Nigeria’s international assessment.
He stated that in the assessment, Nigeria recorded its highest score of 90 points on data integrity, comprehensiveness of report, outcomes and impacts, contribution to economic growth and adherence to legal frameworks, a pointer to the enormous and painstaking efforts undertaken in generating the information and data contained in NEITI’s industry reports.
Dr Orji commended NBS for its commitment to data quality and excellence. “NEITI and NBS have overlapping mandates and should complement each other when it comes to extractive industry data. We believe that such partnership with NBS will allow us to produce more verifiable and credible data that would inform policy and drive reforms”. Dr. Orji stated.
The Statistician General of the Federation (SG), Prince Adeyemi Adeniran affirmed that the National Bureau of Statistics works with Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and Development partners to generate different types of data sets that are being used for economic, social and environmental development.
The Statistician General emphasised the unique nature of the two agencies based on their brand names, integrity and credibility of their work.
He cautioned that this must be protected at all cost because they are accountable to the Nigerian people.
“Our work requires us to imbibe the spirit of transparency and integrity so we cannot afford to do something we cannot defend”. Prince Adeniran explained.
He urged NEITI to generate incisive data on the Solid Minerals sector just like the agency has done in the oil and gas sector.
The SG expressed the willingness of the NBS to support and collaborate with NEITI to enthrone a regime of transparency and accountability in the nation’s extractive sector.
The meeting which took place at the NBS Secretariat was attended by members of the senior management of NEITI and NBS.