There seems to be no end in sight for Nigeria’s importation of petroleum products as the capacity for domestic refining of the products keeps reducing every year, the Benchmarking Exercise Report(BER) 2019 of the Nigerian National Resource Center(NNRC) stated.
According to the report, “Gaps remain in the institutional and legal frameworks of the oil and gas sector, as none of the components of the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB), the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), or many other critical pieces of legislation have been signed into law;
Deteriorating domestic refining capacity over the past few years makes the reduction of petroleum products imports less likely. While the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) released a publicly available Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR), which is a step towards transparency, the lack of appropriate legislation to back the register threatens the efficacy of such register. The government is however taking steps to implement a gas commercialisation programme to reduce gas flaring and emission levels”.
On community relationship, the report noted that no noteworthy changes have occurred since the 2017 BER. “Key legislation to ensure the participation of communities, protect the environment, mitigate costs, respect rights, and ensure that communities benefit from extractive projects has suffered setbacks in the period. EIA and Social Impact Assessment processes are still weak; government agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with regulations are still performing below average; and mechanisms to ensure community trust is gained are ineffective. Nigeria’s ranking on local impacts falls far below NRC recommendations”.
The report is the fourth in a series of BERs produced by the NNRC carried out to provide an assessment of the governance of Nigeria’s petroleum wealth. Three previous exercises were conducted and published in 2012, 2014, and 2017 respectively. The BER uses the NRC framework developed by a diverse set of internationally renowned experts on natural resource management to conduct detailed and contextual assessments of the country’s oil and gas industry.
It analyses the governance of petroleum wealth in Nigeria and identifies crucial changes that have taken place in the sector since the last benchmarking exercise was conducted.
For the 2019 edition, the NNRC entered into a partnership with a consortium of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) comprising of the Centre for Public Policy Alternatives (CPPA), We the People: Centre for Social Studies and Development (CSSD), the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), and Social Action (SA).
The assessment of Nigeria’s performance was led by a panel of independent Nigerian experts on natural resource governance. The panel is composed of former government officials, private sector and civil society representatives, and leading academics. This multi-stakeholder composition has been essential to ensure the integrity, balance, and scope of the panel’s work.
The programme coordinator, Tengi George-Ikoli said: “BER 2019 covers the findings of our thorough examination of the petroleum resource wealth management from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2019. It is an exceptional policy document which we hope will play an important role in influencing policy decisions in the Nigerian petroleum sector.”
She added: “This Report which was painstakingly put together by a team of well accomplished research institutions is undoubtedly the most incisive, in-depth and well detailed account of the developments in the petroleum sector in the period under review;
It seeks to find answers to very important questions such as whether the government has clearly identified the country’s resource endowment, ownership and full impacts of extraction;
It equally demands if the government has an inclusive and comprehensive national strategy for the management of resources as well as to what extent resource management should secure the greatest benefit for citizens through an inclusive and comprehensive national strategy, clear legal framework and competent institutions, among others. Most importantly, it highlights the perennial issue of the neglect of oil producing communities and the delays as regards the transformation of the National Oil Company.
It is our belief that actions taken to address the gaps identified by the NNRC’s 2019 BER will guide Nigeria towards effectively translating our petroleum resources under the ground to development above the ground”.
Miss George-Ikoli appreciated members of the Expert Advisory Panel of the NNRC, chaired by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia SAN; former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo, Prof. Ode Ojowu, Prof. Akpan Ekpo for their support and contributions towards producing a detailed and comprehensive report.