The latest draft of Liberia’s Petroleum Policy Paper (received 6 July 2012) marks a significant step forward for the development of a new framework to manage the country’s oil. However, while the policy contains a number of encouraging provisions, several sections require clarification or changes to ensure that future oil revenues are managed properly.
In several respects the Draft Policy marks a significant improvement over Liberia’s current legal framework. Positive components include:
- The separation of regulatory and operational mandates – to be split between the National Oil Company of Liberia and a new independent regulatory body.
- Ongoing citizen consultations on what revenues generated by the sector should be spent upon.
- Legal standing for Liberian citizens to enable them to hold officials to account for wrongdoing.
However, in its current form the Draft Policy also contains weaknesses that, if left unaddressed, would leavethe oil sector at risk of financial mismanagement. To address this risk, Global Witness has set out five provisions that should be incorporated into the final policy.