Case Study

Nigeria Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Audit Automation

The Nigeria Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) works to promote transparency and good governance by validating and publishing data on taxes paid by companies in the extractives sector. DG is developing a tool to automate data collection and support the process of reconciling conflicting financial data shared by the private sector and the government.

2018 - Present Advise, Build Extractives

Before DG, what challenges did NEITI face with its audit process?

NEITI works to promote transparency and good governance by validating and publishing data on taxes paid by companies in the extractives sector. Its audit reports are among the most widely-read and widely-referenced documents on the extractive industries (EI) in Nigeria.

The data collection, validation, and publishing process for each audit report used to take nearly two years to complete; therefore, information being used for program and policy decision-making was delayed and no longer relevant by publication date.

DG’s goal was to streamline the audit process to allow NEITI to publish the audit report in a timely manner, providing up to date information that can be better used by civil society organizations and other actors to further their advocacy goals.

Developing the Extractive Industries Data Portal (EIDP)

In partnership with the Ford Foundation and NEITI, DG developed an EIDP tool to automate data collection and support the process of reconciling conflicting financial data shared by the private sector and the government. The tool’s goal is to simplify the audit process and improve the timeliness of NEITI’s reports, drastically reducing the amount of time the audit report takes to publish. The tool is also designed to link with NEITI’s audit dashboard, a suite of visual tools that display information on annual audit reports.

DG has built a series of training modules to allow NEITI’s staff to sustainably use and maintain the system. NEITI’s personnel will have the capacity to train any system users and raise awareness around the tool focusing on its added value and benefits for all stakeholders.

“The NEITI audit report is the main source of information for EI data because it is the only source through which disparate government revenue sources are reconciled.”

Multiple DG Assessment Interviewees

Past, Present, and Future of the EIDP in Nigeria

A CALM Assessment

The program started with an assessment trip to understand the complexity of the current audit system. We aimed to understand Nigeria’s audit process, its challenges, and opportunities. We put DG’s Custom Assessment and Landscaping Methodology (CALM) to use.

In Nigeria, our partners at Nigeria EITI joined DG as we interviewed over two dozen partners from other government agencies, the private sector, and CSOs on extractives data challenges and opportunities, to shape a more transparent sector. Having government counterparts participate in interviews gave both groups (NEITI and partners) the opportunity to connect directly. This allows for frank, open dialogue – and a rare time for broad check-in on data supply and use.

Through one-on-one interviews, we built understanding of each group’s challenges and expectations. A structured interview dialogue format was the basis of discussion, but with flexible, tailored interview guides for different types of interviewees. Through this format, NEITI could hear – and really grasp – how important it is to make the data in their highly anticipated audit report accessible. 

Design & Development

Based on needs identified in the assessment, we collaborated with NEITI to create the audit automation tool. The tool is finalized, delivered, and installed on their premises; and the user manual has been shared.

DG worked with NEITI to develop a digital tool that speeds up the process by allowing actors to enter data directly into the system, instead of NEITI having to use around 200 templates to collect from over 100 actors in 18 months. 

Soft-Launching the Tool

DG soft-launched the NEITI data collection in an online event due to Covid-19 in July 2020. The launch was a big success – we also led face-to-face feedback throughout tool design, rather than waiting until the end to share a finished product. The “door to dialogue” remained open throughout the process.

DG is also completing an in-depth training process with NEITI, conducting 4 remote training sessions with the client and conducting a demo with NEITI to gather feedback on the platform. The NEITI team (Automation Committee) has been trained and is using the system.

Expanding the EIDP

Following strong uptake of the tool, DG is continuing to work with Ford to expand the tool and its functionalities – for example, we predict expansion will include mining data as well as embedded visualization features to support community use of annual audit report data.

Additionally, we are supporting NEITI in hosting an official physical launch of the tool, which is an opportunity for NEITI to showcase how the tools it uses to conduct its work have advanced, and to bring stakeholders together to commit to shared goals. DG and Ford are as also focusing on increase awareness of the audit process outputs among those who can use them in advocacy efforts.

2019
2019
2020
2020-2021