Reeling from decades-old international concerns about little transparency and accountability, Guyana hopes that its eventual joining of the global watchdog- Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)- will help attract more investors in the natural resources sector.
“EITI will bring many benefits to Guyana: an improved investment climate, a signal to international investors that the government has a clear commitment to transparency and good governance, and strengthened accountability vis-à-vis the Guyanese people,” says Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
Transparency International has ranked Guyana very poorly in transparency and accountability, a score sheet that had almost every year angered the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration. In a 2015 rating, the World Bank rates Guyana at 3.0 on a scale of one to six in the area of transparency, accountability, and corruption in the public sector.
Addressing a ceremony to mark the announcement of a US$297,000 dollar project that will see the Carter Centre help prepare Guyana to join EITI, he said Guyana’s non-renewable resources – gold, diamonds, forest, oil, gas- must be managed “very judiciously.”
Trotman hopes that by year-end Guyana will be well on its way to join the Norway-headquartered EITI. Before Guyana can do so, he says the country has to meet several benchmarks. They are publishing the G-EITI work plan and implementation schedule, identifying sources of funding for EITI implementation, reviewing Guyana’s legal framework to identify potential obstacles to EITI implementation, and to ensure compatibility with EITI implementation and reporting, capacity building for the multi-stakeholder group, other engaged ministries, and parliamentarians, and developing EITI reporting templates and guidelines.
“These areas of engagement are useful for Guyana’s smooth implementation of a process to which we are all new, and which requires intense focus and our collective efforts for its success,” the Natural Resources Minister said.
The minister emphasised that open, transparent and accountable governance of the extractive industries are integral to the sustainable development of Guyana, and we, as Guyanese, and in partnerships, must do what is right and necessary.
The EITI process will be managed jointly by a Multi-Stakeholder Group involving government, civil society and the private sector.