The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is ready to establish an Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) platform for procurement of goods and services in accordance with the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in 2016, where Buhari committed to implementing the principles of the Open Contracting Data Standard. “We will apply the Open Contracting Data Standard to the following major projects; Development of Refineries in the oil Sector; Building of Health Centres and Improvement of Health Services; Building of Roads and other Infrastructures; Building of Schools and Improving Transparency in the Management of Education Funds and Investment in the Power Sector,’’ he said.
OCDS enables disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the contracting process by defining a common data model. It was created by Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) to support organizations to increase contracting transparency, and allow deeper analysis of contracting data by a wide range of users. The Nigerian Television Authority reports that OCDS platform will provide comprehensive public information and disclosure on all procurement opportunities and contracting information by NEITI to the general public. The platform will be hosted on the NEITI website and will have a feedback component aimed at promoting transparency, accountability, and value for money in public transactions.
Waziri Adio, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, endorsed a memorandum of understanding between NEITI and the Public Private Development Centre (PPDC), a non-governmental organization, represented by its CEO Seember Nyager. Adio applauds the NEITI for becoming the first federal government agency to fully accept the OCDS in line with the Public Procurement Act and bidding regulations of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). Nyager welcomed her organization’s collaboration with NEITI in promoting an open, accountable, competitive procurement process to ensure efficiency and value for money in the procurement of goods, works, and services.
Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) recently ranked NEITI as one of the few federal government agencies making remarkable progress in good corporate governance using the BPSR self-assessment tool for measurement. The reform tools where NEITI ranked very high include integrity of its procurement process, corporate governance, change management, understanding and clarity of mandate, corporate strategy, performance and the ability of NEITI to align its plan and mandate with available resources in the discharge of its responsibilities.
Lately, NEITI launched a special portal to deepen its implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. “The FOI portal on the website is an important tool for checking sharp practices, promoting development and restoring the rights and powers of citizens to know. Because transparency is the middle name of NEITI, we have to walk the talk,” Adio said. He explained that the new website which is FOI compliant is built to provide access and feedback to the public on NEITI’s operations in compliance with the provisions of the FOI Act.
Adio encourages the public to use the FOI portal, which was jointly developed with Right 2 Know (R2K), a non-governmental organization, funded by the MacArthur Foundation; and the new website to benefit from the information and data contained in the NEITI reports and other issues in the extractive sector.