Not before time, the Angolan Government appears to have made a clear and unambiguous commitment to account for all its oil revenues, which constitute about 90% of the state’s money.
"In the past, we had off-budget transactions, so the budget lacked credibility," Angolan Deputy Prime Minister Aguinaldo Jaime said in a speech at an oil industry conference in London. "For the first time in Angola's history, the budget will encompass all revenue and that will send to the donor community the signal that the Angolan Government is committed to a fully transparent way of managing the budget." Jaime clarified that these figures will include all the country’s oil revenues.
Global Witness’ investigations in Angola over the past two years have uncovered that at least US$1 billion per year – about a quarter of state income - appears to have been misappropriated from the state’s coffers for the last five years. This missing money is over three-times the value of the international humanitarian aid that currently keeps about 10% of Angola’s citizens alive.
Global Witness campaigner Gavin Hayman said, “I hope this announcement marks a real change and that the Angolan Government will finally, and not before time, manage its oil money transparently, although as yet there is no commitment to actually publish the budget publicly. Nor is there any clear timeline attached to this promise.”
He added, “The antecedents are not particularly promising: the Angolan Government has directly threatened oil companies that wanted to disclose payments in the past, and, just two days before this announcement, the Angolans rebuffed the UK Prime Minister’s offer to participate in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, which has already done much of the work on how best to report and account for oil income.”
Whilst welcoming the announcement as a step in the right direction, Global Witness believes Angola’s oil accounting must be given credibility by taking part in the UK-led Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. This will allow double entry book-keeping, whereby disclosure of company’s net payments will be reconciled with what the government reports as received to improve management and transparency.
“There is a real danger that once the Angolan Government obtains a positive decision on access to debt relief and IMF funding, transparency reforms will simply be abandoned. The Angolan Government must now play a leading role in implementing the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative’s reporting systems to improve their credibility and really deliver on their promise”, commented Global Witness director Simon Taylor.
Contact Gavin Hayman or Simon Taylor on +44 (0)207 272 6731 or +44 (0)7957 142 121
(1) Global Witness focuses on the links between the exploitation of natural resources and the funding of conflict and corruption. It is non-partisan in all its countries of operation. Global Witness has been co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in uncovering how diamonds have funded civil wars across Africa. Global Witness’ recent statement on transparency in the extractive industries is available at www.globalwitness.org.
(2) Information on the UK Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is available at: www.dfid.gov.uk.
(3) Quotes from the Angolan Government’s announcement are from reports by Reuters, 19 June 2003, ‘Angola to include oil cash in transparent budget’ by Barbara Lewis.
(4) Global Witness is a member of the Publish What You Pay campaign that was launched in June 2002 (see www.publishwhatyoupay.org). The campaign is calling for stock market and international accounting rules to require oil, gas and mining companies to disclose their net payments to governments for resource access on a country-by-country basis. The campaign now has over 120 member NGOs in the North and South. The coalition believes that revenue transparency is an essential condition for alleviating poverty, promoting just and equitable development, improving corporate social responsibility, and reducing corruption in many resource rich developing countries.
(5) In addition to requiring companies to disclose their revenues, it is important to increase the transparency of government revenue streams from production sharing agreements and state-owned companies. Global Witness believes the EITI reporting principles must be reinforced by the imposition of appropriate conditionality on relevant bilateral and multilateral development assistance, resource-backed loans from banks, and export credit agency funding. In addition, the World Bank and the IMF should be required to mainstream revenue transparency across their lending and technical assistance portfolios.
Press Release / June 20, 2003