Revitalising the Nigerian Economy Beyond Oil: Prospects for a Thriving Export-driven Extractive Sector

Introducing the 6th SITEI Conference
May 16, 2017

The 5th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries Conference 2016 was organised by CSR-in-Action on 15 November, 2016, in Abuja, capital city of Nigeria, together with key private and public sector stakeholders, and was themed Revitalising the Nigerian economy beyond oil: Prospects for a thriving export-driven extractive sector. The theme was borne out of the desire to optimise the productivity of the extractive industries in order to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), induce capital retention and boost the National GDP.

During the landmark event, 5th in a series of successive engagements with diverse stakeholders, which took place at the NAF Conference Centre & Suites, Abuja, CSR-in-Action partnered with the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and had Ford Foundation as the keynote sponsor.

The conference was structured into three discussion/plenary sessions vis-à-vis (i) Implementing the National Roadmap for Nigeria’s Mineral Landscape Development, (ii) Discussion on Opportunities for Women and Youth in Artisanal Mining, and (iii) Restructuring the Oil and Gas Sector in Nigeria; the Need for Immediate Policy Implementation.

The Executive Director, CSR-In-Action and convener of the SITEI Conference, Bekeme Masade, outlined the vision of the 2016 edition during her address. She said, “Given the challenges we currently face as a country, the grounds for multifaceted stakeholder engagement has never been more imperative. And it was on this premise that we reached out to all federal parastatals, MIREMCOs, host communities, businesses, civil societies and most importantly, our women and youth who are here today not only as participants, but potential advocates of sustainability in the extractive sector. Even more pleasing is the sight of women showing themselves worthy in a male-dominated field.”

In attendance were Dr Kayode Fayemi (Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development) represented by Prof. Okey Onyejekwe, Bekeme Masade (Founder/Convener, SITEI), Japheth Omojuwa O’Seun Odewale (Special Adviser Media to Minister of Mines and Steel Development), Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola (President, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society), Prof. Ademola Omojola (Department of Geography, UNILAG), Nere Teriba (Managing Director, KianSmith Trade Co), Christine K (Director, Heinrich Boell), Alh. Sani Shehu (National President, MAN/CEO Mailalle), Waziri Adio (Executive Secretary, NEITI), Alan Tousignant (Chief of the Economic Section, U.S. Embassy), Prof. Yinka Omorogbe (Research Professor, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies), Prof. Kenneth Amaeshi, Dauda Garuba (Chair in Business and Sustainable Development and Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative, University of Edinburgh), Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya (Head, Communications, NEITI), Hon. J.F. Adeyemi (President, Women in Mining) represented by Hanatu Indo, Meka Olowola (Chairman, SITEI Planning Committee), captains of the oil and gas and solid minerals industries, private and public sector experts, civil societies and local and international environmental specialists, administrators, investors and the general public.

Ms Masade was joined by the special guests to launch the Sustainable Extractive and Energy Principles (SEEP); a guidance document which seeks to put critical plans, structures and principles in place for the seamless operation of mineral resource-mining and energy operations, including renewable energy.

Some of the key recommendations from discussions on the extractive industries at the conference were highlighted below:

Key recommendations from discussions on the mining industry

    1. Governance issues should be fixed and the orientation of people in and about the mining sector should be improved together with the development of social policies which are more people-friendly.
    2. There should be improvement in ‘ease of doing business’ policies, regulations and promotion of local participation in the mining space.
    3. Use of advanced technology should be adopted. This would improve data collation and enable enhanced decision making.
    4. There should be improvement in infrastructure and transportation methods for solid minerals.
    5. Artisanal miners should be empowered so that they can mitigate the high levels of poverty in artisanal mining states.
    6. There should be an organised and formalised artisanal mining sector to plug the gaps from data leakages.
    7. Spatial data should be efficiently utilised while effectively using it for remote data surveying.
    8. Assessment of the environmental and social impact of mining operations should be enforced.
    9. Fee scales for services provided by the government should be graduated and should be reflective of the size of each operating company.
    10. There should be adequate policy formulation around the social impact of mining to ensure replenishment of resources.
    11. There should be consideration for the health and safety policies for miners to protect against exposure during working conditions.
    12. There should be a detailed mining road map is key for the country to decide what it wants to achieve and how it intends to do it.

Key recommendations from discussions on the oil and gas industry

    1. It is key to note that the private sector has a significant role to play in the development of the oil and gas sector; measures should be put in place to encourage this sector to thrive.
    2. Society-driven entrepreneurs are key to promoting change in the oil & gas industry. Appropriate training should be given to entrepreneurs to understand that a business that is driven by profit-making only will not be sustainable.
    3. Institutional resistance to reforms should be discouraged and government and its agencies should be more flexible and open to change.
    4. Huge disparity between the quality of life of staff of oil and gas companies and host communities could cause rancour with the community.
    5. Business should be trained on the impact of their operations on climate change and should be more environmentally aware.
    6. Policies in the extractive sector should be stable as uncertainty in the Nigerian regulatory environment and monetary policy could discourage investments.

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