Press Release: 30th October 2015
“Following The Money”: Malawi embarks onto the right path towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the extractives industry
In Malawi, like in many other resource-rich countries in the region, minerals, oil and gas have the potential to raise sustainable revenue for national development. But in order to fulfil this potential, fair deals, tax justice and robust agreements are paramount. It is, therefore, great news that Malawi has just been accepted as an EITI candidate country!
On 22 October 2015 during the EITI Board meeting in Berne, Switzerland, Malawi was accepted as an EITI candidate country. This comes just a few months after the coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malawi was accepted into the international community of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition on 8 April 2015. These two developments serve as a clear indication that Malawi is heading on the right path towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. These are good achievements for the nation, although not necessarily enough in themselves in that much work remains to be done.
PWYP and EITI:
PWYP-Malawi applauds the Government of Malawi for its commitment to the EITI principles. Indeed, we believe that the adoption and implementation of a more accountable mining governance practice will greatly contribute to efforts that will better harness the mining sector towards meaningful national development.
EITI operates through a tripartite alliance composed of the government, extractive companies and CSOs; in Malawi this alliance is called the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG). CSOs play a very critical role in adopting and implementing EITI at the national level. Good enough, all CSO representatives on the MSG are PWYP members. This being the case, PWYP will strive to, among others;
- Promote sufficient public awareness on EITI issues in Malawi so that citizens´ understanding of EITI is reasonably improved.
- Strengthen full, independent and effective participation of member CSOs on the MSG during both the candidature and compliant periods, some emphasis being on the inclusion of oil and gas in the EITI scope.
PWYP Malawi strongly recommends that oil and gas be included in the first report as the Government of Malawi has a number of contracts with companies in this sector. As part of its work, the MSG will engage on improving contract transparency so that contracts are in the public domain and implement the voluntary standard on beneficial ownership. Beneficial ownership will allow us to see who controls which companies and therefore who is actually benefitting from the companies extracting resources in Malawi. We commend the MSG for including these aspects in their workplan.