The piece “PWYP Malawi applauds Govt. commitment to EITI principles” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 32 that is circulating this December 2015.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.
PWYP Malawi applauds Govt. commitment to EITI principles
By Chiku Jere
A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Malawi, has hailed the government for its commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) principles after the country achieved acceptance as EITI ‘Candidate.’
Malawi became one of the countries that have successfully made it to the list of EITI candidates after the approval that was made on October 22, 2015 by the EITI board which sat in Bern, Switzerland during for its 30th board meeting.
This development emerged after PWYP Malawi was, on April 8 this year, also accepted as a member of PWYP International.
According to the press release by PWYP Malawi, these two developments serve as a clear indication that Malawi is pursuing the right path towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.
Reads the statement that was signed by Kaulungu Simwaka PWYP Malawi National Coordinator:
These are good achievements for the nation, although not necessarily enough in themselves in that much work remains to be done.
In another excerpt, the coalition professes belief that the adoption and implementation of a more accountable mining governance practice will greatly contribute to efforts to better harness the mining sector towards meaningful national development.
PWYP is a global network of more than 800 civil society organisations united in their call for an open and accountable extractive sector, so that oil, gas and mining revenues improve the lives of people in resource-rich countries.
These organisations include those advocating for human rights, development, environment, as well as faith-based groups.
CSOs have been advocating for Malawi to join the EITI for over six years in order to improve transparency and accountability in the natural resources sector to ensure greater socio-economic development for all Malawians.
President Peter Mutharika eventually reciprocated by making a public declaration of the government’s intention to join the Initiative in June 2014 during his inaugural State of the Nation Address at the opening of parliament.
The EITI Board indaba which approved Malawi’s application was presided over by Chair of the EITI, Clare Short, the former British MP and Secretary of State for International Development.
In her declaration, she explained that,
Membership of the EITI comes at an opportune time in Malawi’s development as natural resources begin to be of macroeconomic importance.
Short appreciated Malawi government’s effort towards asserting its commitment to transparency which, she said, will help the people of Malawi ensure that natural resources are managed for their benefit.
EITI operates through a tripartite alliance composed of the government, extractive companies and CSOs called the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG).
Good for Malawi, all CSO representatives on the MSG are PWYP members. This being the case PWYP Malawi will strive to promote sufficient public awareness of EITI issues in Malawi so that citizens’ understanding of EITI is reasonably improved,
Soon after the declaration of Malawi as an EITI ‘Candidate’ country, local EITI stakeholders who included members of Malawi EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group and the media gathered at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe to celebrate the achievement.
Addressing the gathering on behalf of the country’s EITI Ambassador Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Goodall Gondwe, Director of the Revenue Policy Division in the ministry, Crispin Kulemeka, said Malawi was excited to have been accepted as the candidate and promised to lead Malawians to strive towards meeting all requirements to achieve ‘Compliant’ status.
Kulemeka called upon all stakeholders to maintain the hard work and cooperation that has led to the achievement of the current EITI status.
He highlighted that the MWEITI reports (the first of which is due in 18 months) will be a useful tool for all Malawians to follow how the country is managing the country’s natural resources, and how much revenue is being generated.
The reports will contain information on licences, production data, tax payments, royalties and social expenditure, among other important information for the sector.
We hope this information will stimulate informed and evidence-based dialogue on ways of how best to utilise our finite and non-renewable natural resources to meet our national priorities,
Meanwhile, two GIZ-funded consultants – Lutz Neumann and Hannock Kumwenda – are conducting a scoping study which will help the multi-stakeholder group to determine how the EITI standard will be applied, and what should be included in Malawi’s first EITI report due in April 2017.
PWYP Malawi is strongly recommending and advocating for the inclusion of oil and gas exploration companies even though the companies are not yet in production there by not contributing significant revenue to government.
Among other prominent aspects included in MSG work-plan is to engage on improving contract transparency so that contracts are in the public domain and implement the voluntary standard on beneficial ownership.
According to PWYP, this will allow stakeholders to identify the owners of companies and actual beneficiaries of the country’s extractive resources.