The piece “Eye on Malawi’s EITI: MWEITI in 2016” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 33 that is circulating this January 2016.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.
MWEITI in 2016
As we enter the New Year, it is important to take stock of some of the achievements of 2015 and the work that is ahead in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2016.
Last year was a significant year in Malawi’s EITI journey with the approval to join the initiative as a candidate country given by the EITI Board in October. This followed the establishment of the MWEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group with representatives selected and elected from among government, industry and civil society. The Multi-Stakeholder Group also developed a costed work plan and benefitted from a study tour to Zambia which has been implementing the EITI for over six years. The minister responsible for Finance, currently Hon. Goodall Gondwe, was selected as the MWEITI Champion and towards the end of the year work began on the scoping study.
The scoping study will provide necessary information to guide the Multi-Stakeholder Group in producing the first EITI report, required latest by April 2017. It will contain information about the sector as well as a reconciliation of payments made by companies and receipts of these payments by Government (particularly the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the Department of Mines, the Department of Forestry, and the Malawi Revenue Authority). Revenue streams to be recorded in the report may include corporate tax, value added tax, pay-as-you-earn tax, royalties, ground rent, and licence fees, among others. The final scoping study will be launched early next year and a draft is currently being discussed by key stakeholders.
According to the MWEITI work plan, which aims to contribute to “national sustainable development through revenue transparency” (strategic goal), Malawi is set to produce its first EITI report by December 2016. To be able to do this, an Independent Administrator (usually an auditing company) needs to be identified and contracted to receive data from companies and government to reconcile the relevant revenue data and to compile contextual information for the report. That said, MWEITI’s Multi-Stakeholder Group wants to do more than comply with the EITI Standard, which is its first objective, by forming and strengthening partnerships between the stakeholders in order to attract quality investments (second objective), increasing the revenue base and socio-economic impacts from the extractive industries (third objective) and strengthening trust between the stakeholders involved in natural resource management (fourth objective).
In order to achieve the latter three objectives, the Multi-Stakeholder Group will look into making contracts transparent and publishing the beneficial owners of companies engaged in the extractives. Communication is also a key area of intervention to improve the relations between stakeholders and especially with access to information for communities through creating dialogue sessions with technical experts from government, industry and civil society with mining communities. A couple of potentially useful studies are also anticipated; a report on the fiscal regime and socio-economic impacts with gender disaggregated data along the value chain and a study into the impact of MWEITI on trust in the extractives sector. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Kingdom’s Department For International Development (DFID) have committed to financing this process.
Early next year, in February 2015, Malawi will also have the opportunity to present its experiences and learn from other countries at the EITI Global Conference to be held in Lima, Peru. This will follow on from a summit of Publish What You Pay civil society coalitions. Malawian representatives will be at both key meetings.
Mr Crispin Kulemeka, Chair of Malawi’s Multi-Stakeholder Group and Director of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, finished his speech at the celebratory cocktail in October to mark Malawi’s acceptance to the EITI with the following words,
Let us remember that after the celebration […], there is more work ahead of us. And as we have been doing, we will continue to work as a team and with diligence to ensure that the country benefits from joining the EITI”. Hopefully these words will resonate as we enter 2016. Happy New Year!