Today the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global scheme that aims to stop corruption in the oil, gas and mining industries, agreed to roll out a game-changing measure across all 51 countries that follow its rules. The measure requires extractive companies to publish their payments to governments, such as taxes and royalties, separately for each oil, gas or mining project they own. Governments, in turn, are required to publish the receipts.
By bringing payments and receipts out into the open, people in resource-dependent countries can track the money and hold their governments to account for how it’s used. This matters because a lack of transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries means that too often the payments, which amount to hundreds of billions of dollars a year, are diverted into the private pockets of corrupt politicians and business elites. This is public money that should be working to reduce poverty in resource-rich but economically poor regions.
At a key meeting in Bogota today, the EITI’s International Board agreed that this strong transparency measure, known as ‘project-level reporting’, is required for all EITI reports covering fiscal years ending on or after 31 December 2018. This is a major improvement on the current standard of reporting that is generally used in the EITI. It means that citizens in 51 countries, from Nigeria to Colombia to Myanmar, will have access to much more detailed information about vital oil and mining revenues.
The EITI’s decision brings it into line with the global transparency standard for oil, gas and mining companies. Since 2014, 30 countries have introduced reporting rules that compel their extractive companies to report payments at the project level, including the UK, Canada, France and Norway. While the US recently backtracked by overturning similar anti-corruption rules, the underlying law is still in place and US authorities remain required to implement them.
Dominic Eagleton, Senior Campaigner, Oil Team
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