We do call you today, to, on behalf of the Multi-stakeholders Steering Group (MSG) of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), formally launch the 5th EITI Report for Liberia.
As you may be aware, publication of the EITI Report is one of the core functions of LEITI, and it requires public disclosure of revenue and tax payment data from the extractive sector. This is intended to promote transparent resource management, so that Liberians benefit from the proceeds of their resources.
The 5th Report, commissioned by the MSG on June 19, 2014 and prepared by Ernst & Young and MGI-Monbo and Company, contains reconciled accounts of payments made to, and revenues received by the Government of Liberia from the oil, mining, forestry and agricultural companies during the Fiscal Year July 1, 2011 up to and including June 30, 2012.
The Report shows that the total amount received by nine (9) agencies of Government from the oil, mining, forestry and agriculture sectors for the period under review amounted to One Hundred and Ten Million, One Hundred Forty-Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty-Seven United States Dollars (US$110,146,657), while payment data supplied by eighty (80) companies amounted to One Hundred Million, Eight Hundred and Nine Thousands, Eight Hundred and Nineteen United States Dollars (US$100,809,819). This means that the Government of Liberia acknowledged receiving Nine Million, Three Hundred Thirty-Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Dollars more in revenue than what the companies reported as taxes paid.
The net discrepancy can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, the Government reported receipts for some companies, but those companies, as well as Artisanal Miners and Pit Sawyers, did not submit payment data to the Reconcilers. Secondly, some companies submitted payment data, but the differences could not be reconciled due to lack of adequate information provided to the Reconcilers.
The 5th Report also includes payment data of In-kind Contributions made by extractive companies to the local communities and public institutions; Revenue Tracking, and Amount Due for all fixed amounts. In light of the New EITI Standard, the 5th Report as well substantially reflects contextual information such as the DGP per sector.
The preparation of the Report and its launch today is not the end of the campaign. Part of the process is to discuss the findings of the report with the citizens and solicit their views on the recommendations as they are the true owners of the resources. Hence, the launch of the reports will be followed by massive dissemination exercises including extensive outreach throughout the fifteen counties of Liberia, once funding is secured. Additionally, the MSG is committed to further reviewing the findings and recommendations of the Report with the aim of identifying areas for policy implementation.
These initiatives are very crucial and cannot be achieved without the participation of all stakeholders of the LEITI process including you members of the press. In your traditional role as Agenda Setters, the LEITI depends on you to raise the platform of the EITI process in Liberia; to create awareness and educate the public on the findings of this Report and other studies done and initiatives undertaken to promote transparent resource management in Liberia. The Report launched today is voluminous, over a hundred and fifty pages. Not every member of the public—even the reading public, may have access to a copy or appreciate to read such a volume. Your role is to synthesize the information and educate the public.
We look forward to a collaborative effort that will ensure increased transparency in the management of the country’s vast natural resources.