In 2003, Nigeria voluntarily signed up to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The decision to accede to the EITI and establish the NEITI was taken in the context of the comprehensive socio-economic reform programme embarked upon by the Federal Government of Nigeria during the second term of the Obasanjo administration which commenced on May, 29, 2003. The reform programme was encapsulated in the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).
It focused on four main areas. These were: improving Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment; pursuing structural reforms; strengthening public expenditure management; and implementing institutional and governance reforms. Implementing the EITI in Nigeria by establishing the NEITI was part of the institutional and governance reforms. Nigeria joined the EITI basically to promote prudent management of revenues from its abundant natural resources to reduce poverty and ensure sustainable development. The NEITI is the Nigerian national sub-set of the global EITI.