BudgIT — a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change — wants the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to be more transparent in its operations.

Although it applauded NNPC’s plans to end the “prevalent but disadvantageous practice of gas flaring”, and Petroleum Minister Ibe Kachikwu’s publication of monthly financial and operational reports of the oil giants since 2015, it maintained that “the reality in the report released so far is an outcry for improved transparency and efficiency”. 

BudgIT noted that NNPC had not published the monthly report in 2018, falling short of openness and accountability. 

“The plan of NNPC to reduce gas flaring would not come at a better time than this, as the menace is not only ravaging lives in the host communities but also costing the economy over $2.5bn annually and yet the economic implications of ending this practice should significantly improve Nigeria’s power generating capacity,” it said in a statement signed and released by Abiola Afolabi, its Communications Lead.

“Gas flaring also has significant impacts on the life expectancy of the ‘working poor’ and ‘have-nots’ who struggle to live within these communities. BudgIT welcomes NNPC’s new three-point smart strategy aimed at ending gas flaring in Nigeria but encourages the corporation to release more information about the process, performance metrics, regulations and enabling laws that will aid in the fulfilment of this plan.

BudgIT’s recent publication on gas flaring indicates about 30 million people residing in the Niger Delta are affected by unnecessary gas burning by oil companies in the region. 

“It is therefore commendable that Dr Maikanti Baru, in his speech at the 50th Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), laid out a three-point smart strategy aimed at ending the practice,” it said. “BudgIT is pleased with NNPC announcement to reduce gas flaring ahead of 2020 flare out deadline by the Department Petroleum Resources (DPR).”

It urged the media, civil society organizations, oil companies and the government to ensure that this laudable initiative is monitored and implemented, and that there is a demonstrable plan with specified timelines of strategy implementation.

Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner of BudgIT, commended the government on the “lofty goal of ending gas burning”, expressing belief that “the perennial issue of gas flaring can be contained if there's a political will to implement the declared policies”. 

“We urge the NNPC to release its monthly operational and financial reports to publish the reports for the first quarter of 2018 in line with its transparent, open and accountable practice,” he added, reiterating the civic organisation’s belief that “Nigerians deserve an oil company that is transparent, accountable and open”.

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