…Oil companies not open to disclosure on financial data, transfers to govts.
According to Transparency International, the governments of many oil-rich countries have failed at transforming resource wealth into a better standard of living for the citizenry. The global watchdog believes that at the root of this, is the lack of transparency between governments and oil companies.
With that understanding in mind, the anti-corruption body sought to shed some light on how secretive oil companies are about their operations and how this lends to corruption. In this regard, the international group conducted a study on more than 30 oil companies in the world.
The companies were scored in several categories, one of which includes country-level disclosure. This aspect evaluates companies based on their reporting of financial data, transfers to Governments and operating data on a country-by-country basis. Out of 100, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron scored poorly. ExxonMobil and Shell tied at 10 out of 100 while Chevron got eight marks.
Transparency International stressed that country-level reporting is an inherent part of true transparency, and necessary to assure good management of natural resources.
It said that companies’ country-by-country reporting should include transfers to Governments (direct and indirect), basic operating data and key elements of profit-and loss accounts. This data should allow stakeholders to trace how value is shared and how funds flow between companies and governments. Both elements are necessary for good management of natural resources.”
Transparency International also noted that the said companies, among others, should make public details of their subsidiaries, both fully and non-fully consolidated, including subsidiaries’ countries of incorporation and parent companies’ interests.
It said that the same should hold for information on companies’ fields of operations, their interests and partners. The international watchdog said that all such information should be clearly stated and easily accessible on the companies’ websites.
It said, too, that stakeholders should be able to easily trace the connections between diverse companies, the division of responsibilities and interests, and consequently the possible routes of financial flows.
Transparency International said, “We strongly encourage governments, including the US, to follow up and to broaden the spectrum of required country-by-country reporting. Companies should report not only on their governmental transfers but also on their operations and key profit and loss elements.” (The full report can be seen by following this link: https://resourcegovernance.org/sites/default/files/documents/prt_report_24_02.pdf)
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