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NEITI Unveils Roadmap on Use of Open Data

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NEITI Unveils Roadmap on Use of Open Data

NEITI Unveils Roadmap on Use of Open Data

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Two documents designed to push the boundaries of implementation of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries in Nigeria have been launched by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

It was gathered that the first document is the Roadmap on Beneficial Ownership disclosure, which seeks to outline Nigeria’s strategy towards the implementation and fulfilment of Requirement 2.5 of the EITI standard which among other things demands public disclosures of the real owners of oil, gas and mining companies that operate in Nigeria.

The roadmap provides comprehensive plans and actions designed to guide Nigeria in its implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure in the extractive industries.

The strategy document also identified the institutional frameworks that are required for effective implementation of ownership transparency, clarity on definition of beneficial owners and explanation on thresholds for public disclosure required in the process.

It also defined those who fall into the category of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and the reporting obligations expected of them as well as the challenges  that may be encountered during the process of  data collection, data quality assurance, accessibility and timeliness.

The plan also identified the need for capacity building for all stakeholders expected to be involved in the implementation given the complexity of the extractive industries in Nigeria and highlighted the need for public education and enlightenment on the principles and benefits of Beneficial Ownership disclosures.

The roadmap, apart from fulfilling the EITI requirement, is also in line with the commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the London anti-corruption summit where he pledged to establish a publicly accessible register of all companies operating in Nigeria.

In the President’s words, “We welcome the new 2016 EITI Standard, in particular, the requirements on beneficial ownership and the sale of the government’s share of production”.

The President also declared that “Nigeria will establish a transparent central register of foreign companies bidding on public contracts and buying property. We welcome the proposal by developed countries to work together to improve the access of developing countries to beneficial ownership information for use in public contracting.”

The EITI standards require all implementing countries to publish their Beneficial Ownership Roadmap by January 2017 and commence full implementation by January 2020.

The process adopted in the development of the roadmap was consultative, robust and consistent with the multi-stakeholders approach of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which involves civil society, media, extractive companies, relevant government agencies and development partners.

In a similar development, NEITI has unveiled an open data policy in keeping with the realization that the world is currently witnessing a global shift towards making data open and accessible. This is also in compliance with the EITI Standards and the global shift towards open data availability which is largely attributed to technological advancement and increasing demand for transparency and accountability by citizens.

Under the open data policy released by NEITI, information and data contained in its industry audits would be made publicly available and accessible in a reusable format.

The policy defined Open data as data that is in the public domain or ought to be in the public domain. The definition also provides that such data should be accessible, freely used at no cost and can be shared and built upon by anyone.

The open data policy also requires that the data be used anywhere and for any purpose without restrictions from copyright, patent or other control mechanism and must also be expressly excluded by the provisions of the laws of Nigeria.

This requires making the data convenient, modifiable in open format, easily retrievable, indexed, and well organized. The open data policy also represents the framework for the implementation of the global drive for use of open data to pursue reforms, enthrone transparency and accountability especially in the extractive sector of the Nigerian economy.

The open data policy is expected not only to create a solid foundation for open data disclosures in the extractive sector, but has the potential for implementation in other sectors of the economy.

NEITI therefore appeals to the media, civil society, parliamentarians and citizens to avail themselves of the two policy documents and use them as tools for public education, information dissemination and enlightenment on governance issues in the extractive industry in Nigeria.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Awe Urges Corporate Firms to Adopt Sound Sustainability Reporting

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Sustainability Reporting

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Corporate organisations operating in the country have been charged by the chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Regulation Limited, Ms Tinuade Awe, to adopt sound sustainability reporting as it would help investment decisions of investors.

At an event held on Tuesday themed Unlocking ESG for Boards from Strategy to Disclosure, Ms Awe said investors have the right to know the impact of businesses on the environment, especially at a time people are conscious of it.

She encouraged companies to adopt best practices in their disclosure on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues by ensuring that their sustainability reports capture relevant sustainability disclosures that are relevant to their stakeholders.

“Our world today is facing major sustainability challenges including inequality, overpopulation, climate change, and several environmental risks. By recognizing that capital allocation makes a real impact on the environment and society at large, investors can reap sustainable long-term investment decisions through investments in ESG-themed investments.

“Furthermore, adopting an ESG-lens in our approach to investment is critical for investors to identify businesses that implement a forward-looking approach to managing long-term risks and leveraging opportunities that ensure long-term ensure economic, environmental, and social responsibility,” the NGX Regulation CEO said at the webinar hosted by Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA).

The organisation put hosted the gathering to explore how businesses and organisations can carry a full 360 approach to ESG, from integrating into business strategies to complying with regulations and standards.

In recommending critical disclosures that should be included in a sustainability report, Ms Awe said, “historically, sustainability reports cover the address a company’s approach to managing the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of people, profit and planet.”

“However, disclosures in sustainability reports have evolved over the years to address the needs of a wide array of stakeholders. In publishing their sustainability reports, companies should consider a number of relevant disclosures including materiality, sustainability risks, and opportunities as well as a detailed explanation of how companies are addressing the risks and levering the opportunities.

“In addition, a sustainability report should include disclosures on how sustainability is governed by the Board, Executive Management, and designated officers responsible for managing the organisation’s impact footprint,” she added.

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Economy

60 Startups to Share $4m Google’s Black Founders Fund

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Google Black Founders Fund

By Dipo Olowookere

The sum of $4 million will be distributed to 60 startups established by Africans in the second edition of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund for Africa.

In the maiden edition, the tech giant shared $3 million to 50 eligible black-founded startups across Africa as part of efforts to support innovation in underserved areas.

This year, eligible entrepreneurs will receive between $50,000 and $100,000 non-dilutive cash awards and up to $200,000 per startup in Google Cloud credits, support in the form of training, and access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling the challenges unique to each startup.

Application for the initiative has opened via http://goo.gle/BFFAfrica and will close on May 31, 2022, with winners announced on July 29, 2022.

Google will select winners from 13 countries with active tech and startup ecosystems and they are Botswana, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. However, strong applications from other African countries will also be considered.

It was gathered that businesses eligible for selection for the cohort include early-stage startups with black founders or diverse founding teams, startups benefiting from the black community, operating and headquartered in Africa, startups with a diverse founding team with at least one black founding member; those having a legal presence on the continent and building technology solutions for Africa and the global market; and those who have the growth potential to raise more funding and create jobs.

The Head of Startup Ecosystem for sub-Saharan Africa for Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, stated that, “The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation in underserved areas.

“Black-led tech startups face an unfair venture capital funding environment and that is why we are committed to helping them thrive, grow to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region.

“The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led startups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Africa.”

“We are hopeful that the support received by the black founders will enable them to grow their business and in turn drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities,” Aiyegusi added.

The Google for Startups Black Founders fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of the platform’s racial equality commitments.

The initiative is a pledge toward driving economic opportunity for Black business owners, providing support to startups in the region in the form of equity-free cash assistance that helps them take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licenses.

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Economy

Stocks Shed 0.35% as Flour Mills, GSK, Others Fall

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flour mills

By Dipo Olowookere

Profit-taking continued on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday, with the bourse shedding 0.35 per cent at the close of transactions.

The decline occurred amid a resurgence of negative investor sentiment as the market breadth was bearish with 21 price gainers and 27 price losers led by Flour Mills, which fell by 9.20 per cent to N37.00.

GlaxoSmithKline went down by 8.39 per cent to N6.55, NPF Microfinance Bank dropped 8.02 per cent to N1.95, Japaul depreciated by 6.25 per cent to 30 kobo, while Champion Breweries slacked by 6.09 per cent to N3.70.

On the flip side, PZ Cussons topped the gainers’ chart after it gained 9.96 per cent to close at N13.25, Berger Paints rose by 9.72 per cent to N7.90, Northern Nigerian Flour Mills improved by 9.63 per cent to N11.95, McNichols appreciated by 9.52 per cent to N1.61, while Abbey Mortgage Bank grew by 9.49 per cent to N1.50.

Only the industrial goods counter closed higher yesterday as it gained 0.05 per cent. The consumer goods, banking, energy and insurance sectors lost 0.54 per cent, 0.39 per cent, 0.31 per cent and 0.21 per cent respectively.

At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) went down by 187.47 points to 52,756.62 points from 52,944.09 points, while the market capitalisation reduced by N101 billion to N28.442 trillion from N28.543 trillion.

Business Post reports that the volume of trades rose by 253.76 per cent to 1.3 billion from 374.2 million, the value of transactions increased by 55.62 per cent to N7.7 billion from N5.0 billion, while the number of deals went down by 5.91 per cent to 6,449 deals from 6,854 deals.

The significant increase in the trading volume was due to an off-market deal in FCMB yesterday and it topped the chart with the sale of 775.1 million units of stocks valued at N3.0 billion.

Jaiz Bank transacted 172.2 million shares worth N151.8 million, Transcorp sold 140.1 million stocks valued at N202.1 million, GTCO exchanged 50.4 million equities worth N1.2 billion, while International Breweries traded 21.0 million shares valued at N165.1 million.

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