BENIN CITY – The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) yesterday applauded the  United Kingdom new Accounting Directive which came into force December 1. The “Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014” which was  signed into law by Business Minister Jo Swinson MP on 28 November  provides for  anti-corruption provisions for the oil, gas, mining and logging sectors as contained in Chapter 10 of the 2013 European Union Accounting Directive.
ANEEJ in a press statement signed by its Policy Officer, Mr. Innocent Edemhanrhia said the new law would help in fighting corruption in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“As a leading Civil Society Organisation working on extractive issues in the oil- rich Niger Delta, where International Oil Companies and Multi-national oil companies have  been operating for decades in manners considered opaque and inimical to environmental protection ( flouting international standards,  conventions and  rules governing oil exploration and extraction), we applaud this quick response by the United Kingdom which appears, from all indications, to be the  first European Union  member state to complete transposition of the Accounting Directive’s country-by-country reporting rules for the extractive industries,”  Policy Officer of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Mr. Innocent Edemanrhia said.
“It is heartwarming to note that under the regulations, UK-incorporated extractive companies will report on financial years starting from 1 January 2015 by filing an annual report on payments over the materiality threshold (£86,000) with the UK companies registrar (Companies House for England & Wales) within 11 months of the end of their financial year,” the ANEEJ Policy Officer emphasised.
“We call on all UK-registered extractive companies operating in the Niger Delta to FULLY comply with the new regulation as ANEEJ is ready to hold all such companies to account on this new Accounting Directive. We look forward to the first company payment reports which will be published in 2016.” Mr. Edemanrhia said.
“What’s more interesting is the fact that under the new regulation, extractive  Companies now have to  make payment reports freely available online in open and machine-readable data format. This, in our view, will certainly help us and other CSOs with the right information to  analyse company payments and to demand accountability for questionable payments and unaccounted-for government revenues.” ANEEJ further said.
“It will help deal a death kneel on the massive corruption that has characterised the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry for several decades as appropriate information will be available to hold both companies and government accountable. This will further help the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative  (NEITI) to succeed.” Edemanrhia noted.
“While we applaud the United Kingdom for blazing the trail, we equally call on other the European Union countries to take a cue from the UK by taking urgent steps to  comply with the new EU Accounting Directive so that we will begin to enjoy a holistic approach to this regulation from all EU member countries operating in the Niger Delta and hence the entire Gulf of Guinea” ANEEJ stated.aganga