Guyana inches closer to global transparency system for extractive industries

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:00 by GxMedia

Guyana is moving to improve the level of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, particularly mining, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment said Tuesday.

This undertaking is being advanced through the hiring of an international or local consultancy team to commence a Scoping Study of the adoption of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Guyana.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment said it has begun the process of advertising for the consultancy from today though both local and international media, as well as on the E-procurement website.

Guyana is primarily a resource-based economy. The extractive industries are an important source of employment, income and government revenue. The sector occupies a central place in the economy due to attractive commodity prices, the availability of mining properties, increases in production and technological improvements. With further hydrocarbon exploration, the resumption of manganese mining, increased production of bauxite and gold and the opening to new exploration, government said the extractive sector is expected to continue growing rapidly.

The  Extractive  Industries  Transparency  Initiative  (EITI)  is  a  global  standard  aimed  at  improving revenue transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. EITI was established in 2002 and since then has become a robust yet flexible methodology for monitoring and reconciling company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining at the country level.

The implementation of the EITI standard has two main components: i) the disclosure of payments to the government from private companies, and the disclosure of receipts from the government, by means of an Annual Report, and ii) the constitution of a multi-stakeholder group including representatives from the government, private sector and civil society responsible for overseeing the process and communicate the findings of the EITI Report.

In 2012, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MoNRE) re-engaged the EITI International Secretariat to implement the initiative in Guyana. This request was followed by the visit of Mr. Jonas Moberg, Manager of the EITI International Secretariat, and the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2012 to assist Guyana in its preparation for the consideration of EITI candidacy. The MoNRE has since then participated in several EITI conferences and workshops in an effort to build local capacity in understanding the EITI processes. Moreover, in February 2013, the MoNRE formally established a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) for the consideration of a potential candidacy to the EITI.  As  per  the  EITI  standard,  the  MSG  is  responsible  for  the identification of the goals to be achieved through EITI compliance as well as the implementation of the actions necessary to realize those targets; its composition is a critical step for countries intending to implement the EITI.  As part of their commitment to exploring the implementation of the EITI in countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank are providing technical advice to the GoG in its efforts towards EITI candidacy. In addition, the EITI Secretariat has provided guidance on the content of both “feasibility” and “scoping” studies necessary for taking forward the initiatives. The former is to identify the challenges and opportunities of EITI implementation, the latter to determine the scope of EITI reporting. Scoping and feasibility studies help assess challenges and opportunities associated with EITI implementation and determine the scope of the EITI reporting.

The objective of the assignment is to produce a study which will inform the MSG’s discussions regarding the scope and implications of the implementation of the 2013 EITI standard for Guyana’s extractive industries (oil, gas, large and small-scale mining).

The consultants’ assignment  will consist of two parts i) A detailed study to asses Guyana’s extractives industry and to highlight opportunities and challenges of EITI implementation; ii) Dissemination of results and capacity building. The study (i) will consist of three sections: Information/Context,Information for and scope of the EITI report and the Cost/benefit analysis and workplan.

“The benefits for a country such as Guyana that seeks to implement the EITI include an improved investment climate by providing a clear signal to investors and international financial institutions that the government is committed to greater transparency. EITI also assists in strengthening accountability and good governance, as well as promoting greater economic and political stability,” , the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment added.

,Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert M. Persaud has underlined the importance of transparency by this Government and companies in the extractive industries and the need to enhance public financial management and accountability. “The achievement of greater transparency must be set in the context of respect for contracts and laws which will enhance the environment for domestic and foreign direct investment that financial transparency may bring,” he said.

He said the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment believes in the principle and practice of accountability by and to all citizens for the stewardship of revenue streams and public expenditure. “We are committed to encouraging high standards of transparency and accountability of government operations through the contributions of stakeholders, including the Government and their agencies, extractive industry companies, service companies, multilateral organizations, financial organizations, investors, and non-governmental organizations,” he added.