The forum was intended to promote youth understanding of the issues in the resource sector and encourage their participation in the fight against corruption in Liberia. Held under the theme: Enhancing Youth Participation in Natural Resource Governance In Liberia”, the program brought together about 100 young people from across the country, 60% of them students participating in the Extractive Club Program, a LEITI youth-focused outreach initiative being implemented at various high schools in Liberia.
Presenting on findings and recommendations from the 4th and 5th EITI Reports for Liberia, LEITI Communications and Outreach Officer Samson Wonnah outlined several issues including failures of some companies to comply with the process and discrepancies identified in the reconciliation process of amounts reported as taxes paid by the extractive companies and those the government acknowledged receiving in revenues.
Mr. Wonnah said such failures in complying with the EITI reporting process seriously undermine efforts to promote transparency over revenues from the extractive sectors, stressing that public disclosure of taxes from the extractive sectors is a legal requirement. Mr. Wonnah also disclosed that LEITI would further investigate the reported discrepancies to ensure every cent due the Government and people of Liberia is fully accounted for.
Also speaking on the significance of the event, the LEITI Spokesman said part of the idea behind the program was to re-awaken the LEITI youth engagement campaign particularly in the wake of the scale-down of activities due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia.
The Extractive Club Program, funded by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), has enabled LEITI to reach out to over hundred and fifty students during the past two years, promoting amongst them the value of integrity and increasing their understanding of the extractive sector, thereby preparing them for greater leadership role in the near future. Whether through field trips to extractive companies, mentorship program, peer-to-peer discussions and inter-high school debates, the e-Club Program has stirred excitements amongst students and allowed them to contribute to the debates and discussions regarding transparent resource management in Liberia.
Mr. Lasana A. Kromah, Sr., Enforcement Manager of the Real Estate Tax Division of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and Mr. Stephen B. Lavalah, Senior Policy Analyst at the GYAC also made presentations respectively on “Sustainable Management of Revenue Flows in the Extractive Industries” and “Environmental Impact on Natural Resource Extraction”.
December 9, is annually observed as International Anti-Corruption Day since the passage of the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 31 October 2003. Yesterday’s event was held at the YMCA Conference Room in Monrovia and broadcast on major national radio and television stations. Pictorial from the occasion can be viewed on the link below: