The signing of this Act by the President reaffirms continuing Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, a commitment that is much to be credited for the success of the LEITI. In specific praise of the Act, LEITI Chairman, Finance Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, said the passage of the Act into law represents a “landmark achievement in our collective bid to plant firm foundations of transparency in the management of state resources.”
Meanwhile, the international Secretariat of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), based in Oslo, Norway, and Global Witness, a leading international NGO involved in exposing corrupt exploitation of natural resources, have both commended the Liberian Government for the passage of the Act. According to Global Witness, “a new transparency law, signed by the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, covering oil extraction, mining and other natural resource industries, sets an impressive benchmark for global efforts to fight the natural resource curse and should be emulated by other countries.” Global Witness continued: “The law is (a) testimony to the reformist spirit of the government and to Liberian civil society groups who have worked so hard to turn the country's natural resources from a curse to a blessing.”
The LEITI Act, which was signed by the House of Representatives on May 28, 2009 and by the House of Senate on June 11, 2009, was signed into law on July 10, 2009. The Act established LEITI as an independent entity of the Government of Liberia with objectives that include assisting to ensure that all taxes due from the extraction of Liberia’s minerals and other resources are (1) verifiably paid or provided; (2) duly accounted for; and (3) prudently utilized for the benefits of all Liberians on the basis of equity and sustainability.
LEITI is part of a global initiative known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that aims at promoting transparency over mineral revenues through regular disclosure, verification and publication of all payments and revenues connected with the operations of the mining and oil sector. About thirty resource-rich countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas are members of the EITI. Of the many EITI countries, Liberia is the first country in the World to include forestry in its EITI scope, and the new Legislation has also included the rubber subsector as well. This means that LEITI will publish, on a regular annual basis, all payments and revenues connected with the operations of mining, oil, logging, and Rubber companies in Liberia. The first of such publication was made early this year and may be found at www.leiti.org.lr.
The signing of the LEITI Act into law makes Liberia the second EITI country next to Nigeria to have a dedicated EITI legislation.