LEITI MSG Meeting
The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) was yesterday October 14, 2009 designated as EITI compliant during the 10th meeting of the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) in Baku, Azerbaijan. Announcing the boards decision following a review of Liberia’s validation report, Dr. Peter Eigen, Chairman of the EITI Board stated “The Board congratulates the Government of Liberia and all the other stakeholders on the impressive progress made implementing the EITI. “
Chairman Eigen noted “Liberia is the first African country to be designated EITI Compliant. It is the first country to have included the forestry sector in its reporting. It has also undertaken extensive dissemination work to building community engagement in the EITI process. The success of Liberia in reaching EITI Compliance demonstrates what governments, companies and civil society can achieve when working together and political will is firmly behind the process.”
Validation is EITI’s quality assurance mechanism that evaluates EITI implementation in consultation with stakeholders, it verifies achievements with reference to the EITI global standard, and it identifies opportunities to strengthen the EITI process going forward.
The validation of Liberia’s EITI implementation began March 2009 and the final report was submitted on July 23, 2009. This compliant status makes Liberia the first country in Africa and the second country in the world to have completed validation. Azerbaijan is the only other country in the world to complete validation.
The EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organizations that sets a global standard for transparency in the extractive sector. With good governance the exploitation of these resources can generate large revenues to foster growth and reduce poverty. However, when governance is weak, it may result in poverty, corruption, and conflict. Therefore, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aims to strengthen governance by improving transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) is part of this global program that promotes transparency over mineral revenues through regular disclosure, verification and publication of data of all payments and revenues connected with the operations of logging, oil and mining companies.
Liberia published her first Report of the payments and revenues on February 9, 2009. Preparation to publish the second report has begun and it is expected to be published by November 2009.
Ensuring transparency over all funds paid to Government of Liberia by mining, oil, logging and agriculture companies is not only a matter of complying with the new LEITI Act, it is a matter of necessity for both the Government and companies as well as civil society. The Government needs such transparency in order to maximize revenues collection and ensure their proper use for poverty reduction programs, while the companies also benefit from the process through improved community relations and security of investment, which result from the public knowing what the companies pay to the Government. It is therefore important that compliance with the EITI requirement concerning disclosure and publication of payments and revenues be seen more as a necessity than a legal requirement.
The assertion was made on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 by Hon. M. Tarnue Marwolo, Deputy Minister of Finance when he opened a one-day technical workshop on preparation, submission, and publication of the 2nd EITI Report of Liberia that is expected to be published in December 2009. The workshop held at the Krystal Oceanview Hotel in Monrovia was organized and facilitated by Moore Stephens LLP, the UK-based firm of Chartered Accountants recently recruited to prepare the LEITI 2nd Report of payments and revenues covering the period July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009.
The Deputy Minister also expressed Government’s appreciation for the level of dedication and commitment that the companies and all other stakeholders continue to show and which has made Liberia to become a well-respected leader among EITI implementing countries.
The workshop was attended by over seventy (70) representatives of mining, oil, forestry, and agriculture companies operating in Liberia as well as representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, FDA, NOCAL, the General Auditing Commission, etc. Also in attendance were representatives from civil society and Liberia’s development partners. The Workshop provided an interactive forum for the reporting stakeholders and a two-man team from the new LEITI Reconcilers (Moore Stephens) to discuss (1) the LEITI Reporting templates, (2) procedures for completing the templates, and (3) the timetable and address for submission of the templates.
The two auditors from Moore Stephens who organized and facilitated the workshop are Paul Stockton and Ben Toorobally.
According to the LEITI Secretariat, the overall objective of the Workshop is to enhance the overall credibility of the 2nd LEITI Report and thereby avoid the problem of unresolved discrepancies that marred the 1st LEITI Report.
The 1st Report of LEITI was published in February 2009. Since then, Liberia has won many international accolades for the progress of its EITI program. Following successful completion of its EITI validation, the International EITI Board declared Liberia EITI Compliant on October 14, 2009. Liberia is the first country in Africa and the 2nd in the world to become EITI compliant.