Sunday , 12 July 2020
Latest News
Home » Breaking News / Latest News » Marginal Oil Fields: Nigerian CSOs decry exclusion from 2020 bid round process
Marginal Oil Fields: Nigerian CSOs decry exclusion from 2020 bid round process

Marginal Oil Fields: Nigerian CSOs decry exclusion from 2020 bid round process

Advertisements

BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE
Nigerian Civil society groups on Wednesday decried their exclusion by the Federal Government from the processes involved in the forthcoming 2020 marginal oil fields bid round.
This was coming on the heels of the recent bid process for the award of 57 new oil licenses to prospective Nigerian companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production businesses in the country opened by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
According to the groups, the published bid guidelines by the DPR did not involve civil society among agencies that would monitor the exercise.
In a letter dated June 15 to the DPR Director, Sarki Auwalu, the groups demanded immediate inclusion of about two civil society representatives in the bidders screening team as observers, with a view to building public trust and investors’ confidence in the process.
Besides, the CSOs called for a strong legislative oversight by the National Assembly, and involvement of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) before, during and after the exercise to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
Particularly, they expressed concern that the published guidelines were fraught with provisions that may hamper the interest of genuine bidders in the oil fields, thereby denying the country the benefits of set objectives.
They told DPR, “After reviewing the Guidelines, and putting into perspective past experiences and pitfalls of similar processes, we deem it important to draw your attention to some of the points that could hinder the success of the process, or limit Nigeria from deriving optimal financial and socio-economic benefits from the exercise,” adding, “we are prepared to play our roles as Civil Society in support of this very important national exercise, with the understanding that it is intended and designed to deliver the overriding interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
The letter was signed by National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, Peter Egbule; Executive Director, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Faith Nwadishi; Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Rafsanjani Auwal Musa; Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Olanrewaju Suraj and National President, Green Alliance Nigeria (GAN), Chima Williams.
Others include, Chief Executive, Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal; National Coordinator, Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industry (MITEI), Bassey Udo; Programmes Manager, Selemati Foundation, Rita Kigbara; Executive Director, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, Yemi Ademolokun; Principal Lead, BudgIT Foundation, Gabriel Okeowo, Director, Civic Media Lab, Akinfolarin Oluwaseun, and Programmes Officer, West African NGO Network (WANGONeT), Sandra Dike.
The bid round expected to be completed over the next six months is coming more than 18 years since the last exercise in 2002.
Identifying licensing as one of the weakest links for value realization from Nigeria’s petroleum industry, the group lamented that previous exercises between 2000 and 2007, not only fell below global best practices, but also failed to secure maximum value for the country’s assets.
Emphasizing strict adherence to globally accepted best-practices, the group expressed doubts the current exercise would bring a different result from the past if government does not make the process more transparent.
To deliver the expected increase in revenue and proven crude oil reserves as well as increase in daily crude oil production, the group urged the government to ensure the set goals conformed to the country’s long-term planning objectives in the sector.
Previous licensing rounds in the country, the group noted, were not tied to any comprehensive asset development strategy or broader economic development plans, noting the imperative for each licensing round objectives to align with the country’s strategy for managing natural resource base for current and future generations.
It also called on the government to strengthen the National Data Repository Geological system by making authenticated and certified data easily accessible to bidders to attract capable investors to the oil assets on auction.
On the bidding process, the group urged the DPR to adhere to the published guidelines and criteria on the bid to avoid confusion and ensure due process.
Considering what the bid round is for, the group said the depoliticized criteria must be developed to support local content without compromising the sector’s development potential or returns.
It came again, “Nigeria must resist the tendency to extend preferential treatment to companies solely because they are local and well-connected” urgng the DPR to amend the guidelines to accommodate the disclosure by all bidders on “sworn declaration, complete, comprehensive and accurate information on their ultimate beneficial owner(s).”
This, the group said, would go a long way indicating that Nigeria was fully compliant with its obligations under the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) principles, openness and a level-playing field necessary for not allowing ‘business as usual’ by vested interests.

Advertisements

About Demola Abimboye