Aug 19, 2017 News
By Kiana Wilburg
The submission of Guyana’s application for membership into the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was yesterday facilitated at the Ministry of Natural Resources on Brickdam.
At the simple ceremony, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman handed over a copy of the application to Head of the EITI local chapter, Dr. Rudy Jadoopat. The Guyana EITI (GYEITI) Head collected the document on behalf of the regional EITI head, Dr. Francisco Paris, who witnessed the occasion via Skype. Dr. Paris is currently in Oslo, Norway, and an electronic copy of the document was sent to him later yesterday.
Present at the event were various industry stakeholders, including Patrick Harding, of the gold industry and ExxonMobil’s Country Manager in Guyana, Rod Henson. Mike McCormack, who is the head of the Multi-Stakeholder Group, was also present at the event.
In his opening remarks, Trotman said that the submission of the application is a signal achievement for good governance in Guyana. He then recognized the work done by the previous government, as it was the PPP which some years ago, made the decision to take Guyana in this direction. Trotman noted that thereafter, in November of 2015, a cabinet decision was taken by the APNU+AFC Government to continue the process.
Trotman also singled out McCormack and Hilbert Shields, who possess years of experience in the extractive sector, for their invaluable contributions towards the process.
Once the application is accepted, Trotman said that Guyana would become the 53rd member of EITI.
According to Jadoopat, the application is being submitted this month so that Guyana can make it in time for the EITI meeting coming up in October, where it is expected that its application will be approved.
Jadoopat said that once all goes well, Guyana should be submitting its first report as an implementing country of the EITI Standard by April 2019.
EITI is an international body that was established in 2003 with the aim of making it harder for governments and companies to hide the truth about the proceeds garnered from the extractive industries.
The companies in the extractive sector report on what they are paying the government, and the government reports separately on what it received from the companies in the sector. A report is then prepared by a Multi-Stakeholder Group. The document, among other things, will highlight whether the numbers data collected from the two add up, or if there is an irregularity.
Jadoopat explained that Guyana must be praised for intensifying its efforts, in recent years, to satisfy EITI candidate sign-up requirements.
The official noted that the Government of Guyana had announced its commitment to implement the EITI Standards since May 2010. He noted that Guyana and EITI even signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012, which paved the way for Guyana to be assisted with its preparation of EITI candidacy.
He noted that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Carter Center provided assistance to the Government and supported its efforts towards EITI candidacy. Jadoopat said it is expected that this will continue.
Furthermore, Jadoopat said that Guyana has stepped up in achieving meaningful progress towards eligibility to apply for EITI candidacy.
He noted that the coalition government has since reaffirmed the country’s commitment to EITI and announced the establishment of the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Following this was the appointment of a National Coordinator and a Deputy Coordinator on February 1, last. A Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), which is one of the requirements of EITI, was officially launched on February 15, last.
Jadoopat explained that the MSG GYEITI comprises 12 members, nominated by Civil Society, the Extractive Industry and Government in the ratio 4:4:4. He said that there are also 12 alternates; one for each member from the respective sectors.
Additionally, the National Coordinator said that the MSG GYEITI has agreed to hold regular meetings, at least once a month. He noted that Sub-Groups have been formed to actively engage in finalizing Terms of Reference, a Confidentiality Agreement and a Work Plan.
“Barring any unforeseen obstacles, The Cooperative Republic of Guyana can become an EITI candidate before the end of 2017. Additionally, in order to set the stage to implement the EITI Standard nationally, measures will be taken to assist the MSG in making decisions on how the EITI process should work in Guyana,” Jadoopat expressed.
He said that other measures will see moves being made to embark on comprehensive data and information compilation on the governance of the extractive sectors of Guyana, preparation of regular reports and issuance of recommendations for improving sector governance.
The National Coordinator said that efforts will also be geared towards the design of a comprehensive public awareness campaign to promote and explain the work of the Guyana EITI and also inform public debate and seek recommendations.
Jadoopat also noted that the Multi-Stakeholder approach is central to the operation and philosophy of the EITI, as it reflects on how the GYEITI is governed and implemented. He said that the GYEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group, like in other EITI countries, has been established to oversee EITI implementation.
“The MSG is the main decision-making body responsible for setting objectives for EITI implementation, producing EITI Reports and ensuring that the findings contribute to public debate. A fully functioning MSG is essential for Guyana to be accepted as an EITI Candidate country and for the successful EITI implementation thereafter,” the National Coordinator asserted.
He continued, “The EITI Standard contains some minimum requirements related to the role, rights and responsibilities of the MSG that can help ensure efficient MSG oversight of the EITI implementation process.”
Jadoopat added that the government, as stipulated in the International EITI Standard 1.4, has committed to working with Civil Society and Companies.
The official said that the government has been instrumental in ensuring that the preconditions for EITI candidacy are satisfied.
He said, “It has unequivocally and boldly announced its commitment to work with civil society and companies. Also, the government has agreed to ensure that there are no obstacles to civil society’s participation in the EITI processes. It agreed to refrain from actions which may result in narrowing of, or restricting public debate in relation to the EITI implementation.”
Furthermore, Jadoopat took the opportunity to encourage all to consider it their civilian duty to actively participate in the activities and work of the GYEITI.
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