By FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja
Members of the Contract Transparency Network (CONTRANET), have raised concerns about the opacity of contracts in the Nigerian extractive industry in spite of its strategic importance to the lives and welfare of citizens.
The forum have therefore charged the Federal Government to commence multi-stakeholder consultations on how to proceed with the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector in accordance with all her international commitments.
The call is contained in a communique issued at the end of virtual meeting held to deliberate on the strategy for advocating for the adoption and implementation of a framework to implement contract transparency in the extractive industry in Nigeria.
The FOSTER sponsored meeting is one in a series at which the need to make contracts entered into in the sector by the government, on behalf of the citizens, available to the public in line with international best practices and commitments that the Federal Government has signed unto, was emphasized.
Participants also called on the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as well as the NNPC and Mining Cadastre Office, respectively, to collaborate with the NEITI and other stakeholders, including civil society, to develop and adopt a Framework for the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria.
Similarly, civil society organizations was charged to engage the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice through the Open Government Partnership Secretariat to commence the review of the necessary legislative and policy frameworks that will make the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector a reality in Nigeria.
The forum noted that natural resources belong to the Nigerian people and the government only acts on behalf of citizens and should therefore be transparent when they enter into contracts for the extraction and sale of oil and gas, and other mineral assets
Hence it emphasized that contract transparency is compatible with the anti-corruption thrust of the present administration and constitutes a major way to consolidate anti-corruption efforts in the extractive sector
CONTRANET is a civil society network drawn from the media, rights groups, and community based organizations focused on deepening transparency and accountability across the value chain of the sector by making contracts open for citizens’ engagement.