The signing ceremony took place at the LEITI Secretariat in Monrovia, with Konah D. Karmo, Deputy Head of the LEITI Secretariat signing for the LEITI and Juliane Weymann, Advisor of the GIZ Regional Resource Governance Project in West Africa, signing on behalf of her institution.
In line with the agreement, the GIZ will provide funding that will enable the Secretariat secure legal services experts to produce easy-to-read versions of all concessions agreements within the oil, mining, agriculture, and forestry sectors. The project is part of the LEITI’s efforts to ensure increased access to the public on contracts and agreements signed by the Government. To ensure that the Matrix is as accurate as possible, the process will seek collaboration from legal minds at the companies, supervising agencies of government, and the civil society. It will also leverage the services of the National Bureau of Concession, National Investment Commission, etc.
The Secretariat notes that while it has strived, in line with the LEITI Act of 2009, to make these contracts accessible to the public in hard and electronic copies including access on its website, it is yet challenging for the average citizens to understand the terms and provisions due to their complex legal nature. This general lack of understanding of these concession agreements, the Secretariat says, continues to create a void wherein citizens make their own inferences, some of which may not be the true intent of the agreements.
The matrix when produced will help to mitigate the information gap and serve as an additional tool to strengthen the LEITI communications and outreach activities by reducing the complex legal documents into easy-to-read documents for all citizens, particularly those within close proximity of concession areas. Basically, it will summarize the fiscal terms, contract start/end dates, community benefits, and other key provisions on the agreements.