By Kiana Wilburg
The International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) yesterday approved Guyana’s application to become a member of the prestigious anti-corruption body which demands good governance in oil, gas and other mineral resources.
The 38th Meeting of the EITI which is being hosted in Manila, Philippines concludes today.
Representing Guyana at the momentous occasion was Head of the EITI local chapter, Dr. Rudy Jadoopat, who told Kaieteur News last night that he is overjoyed with Guyana’s success in this regard and communicated same to the EITI Board.
“When I was there, they asked me to leave the room to allow the EITI Board members to deliberate and make a decision on Guyana’s EITI Candidature Application. After the deliberations, I was invited back into the meeting and asked to sit next to the Head of the EITI International Secretariat, Mr. Jonas Moberg and Chairman of the EITI Board Mr. Frederik Reinfeldt,” Dr. Jadoopat said.
He continued, “There was loud cheering and congratulatory sentiments. I was offered the microphone and I expressed gratitude to the EITI International Board, the International Secretariat, World Bank, Carter Centre, the Multi-Stakeholder Group, the media, and all those who contributed towards Guyana’s attainment of EITI Membership.”
“I expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government of Guyana and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, and the Guyana-EITI National Secretariat. I also asked for continued support as we embark on the actual EITI Implementation.”
Dr. Jadoopat said that the next step is for Guyana to submit its first EITI report within 18 months from yesterday. He stressed that it must meet all the strict EITI Requirements which are covered in the EITI Standard 2016 (See link for more information on this: https://eiti.org/document/standard)
Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EITI, said that the expected growth of the oil and gas sector in Guyana is both a huge opportunity and a big challenge. He said that the further development of the mining sector is also an important focus of public debate. Further, Reinfeldt noted that implementing the EITI rules will help Guyana lay the foundation for transparent and accountable management of its natural resource wealth.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman is also pleased with Guyana’s success in this regard. He noted that the Government of Guyana has approached the EITI process with a commitment to transparency and openness as well as a recognition, acceptance and deliberate effort to foster the truth that the resources of this country belong to every Guyanese in equal measure.
Trotman asserted that this EITI initiative has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the Guyanese economy through increased accountability and transparency, translating into more informed public policy debates and guidance on managing our resource endowments.
He said that it also has the potential to increase the confidence of business and enhance Guyana’s reputation as a sound investment destination.
Curtis Bernard, co-chair of the Multi-Stakeholder Group on behalf of civil society, agreed with Trotman’s position while adding that he is exuberant that Guyana’s candidature to the EITI has been approved.
Bernard said that this is a very firm step towards ensuring that monetization of Guyana’s natural patrimony results in sustained benefits to the present and future generations of Guyanese.
Like Bernard, Mr. Hilbert Shields who also co-chairs of the Multi-Stakeholder Group on behalf of mineral sector, noted that from an industry perspective, EITI compliance can promote greater economic stability and reduce investment risk by raising the standards of business conduct.
Shields stated that it also helps provide a more complete view of the full contributions made by the extractive industry. Shields said that this should better inform the discussions of all stakeholders and ultimately support and nurture responsibility to be good corporate citizens.
GUYANA/ EITI HISTORY
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.
Dr. Jadoopat explained that Guyana must be praised for its efforts in recent years, which were all geared towards satisfying the 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 said 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 said 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. Dr. Jadoopat said it is expected that this will continue.
He added that the government, as stipulated in the International EITI Standard 1.4, has committed to working with Civil Society and Companies.
“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 of public debate in relation to the EITI implementation.”
Dr. Jadoopat also took the opportunity to encourage all to consider it their civilian duty to actively participate in the activities and work of the Guyana-EITI.
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