MWEITI Press Release: Consultations on Beneficial Ownership Disclosure and Open Data Policy

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 December 2016

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development

 

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard that promotes transparency and accountability in the extractive sector (mining, oil and gas, and forestry). It has a robust yet flexible methodology for monitoring and reconciling company payments and government revenues from the extractive industries. Companies publish what they pay and governments publish what they receive in an EITI report. Each implementing country creates its own EITI process adapted to the specific needs of the country.

The Malawi Government made a resolve to join the EITI in June 2014 when His Excellency the State President made a declaration during the State of the Nation Address. Following this expressed commitment, in keeping with the EITI standard, the Minister responsible for Finance was selected to champion EITI in Malawi and a Multi-Stakeholder Group (made up of government institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector) was formed in 2015. Since its formation, the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) has since developed a roadmap and also made an application to EITI International Secretariat for Malawi’s candidature status which was granted on 22 October 2015 when the EITI Board met in Berne, Switzerland.

With the financial support from the Government and its development partners, the MSG is implementing its 3-year Workplan in keeping with the process towards attaining EITI “compliant status”. Being declared as compliant means implementing the new 2016 EITI Standard. This Standard requires that all EITI implementing countries should develop and implement a Roadmap for the disclosure of Beneficial Owners of extractive assets by 1st January, 2017. By the same date, all EITI implementing countries are also required to develop an Open Data Policy, which aims at ensuring that data relating to natural resources revenue and expenditure is easily accessible, user friendly, understood and should raise public debate.

The Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Roadmap includes plans and activities for how Government will ensure that corporate entities that bid for or invest in extractive assets disclose the identities of their beneficial owners. A beneficial owner is defined as the living human being who ultimately profits from a company’s activities or controls a company’s activities. On the other hand, the Open Data Policy relates to access and usage of Open Data, which is digital data that is made available with the technical and legal characteristics necessary for it to be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The MWEITI MSG with the support of the MWEITI Secretariat has initiated the drafting of these policy documents which must be submitted and published by 1st January 2017. In order to finalise the drafting of these documents, and also to ensure popular ownership, the MSG has decided to engage various stakeholders.

The MSG, therefore, has organised consultative workshops on developing the Beneficial Ownership Disclosure (BOD) Roadmap and Open Data Policy to support EITI implementation in Malawi. The workshops will run as follows:

  • Consultative workshop with Media and CSOs will be held on 8th December 2016, Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, starting from 8:00 am and ending at 12:20 pm.
  • Consultative workshop for Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will be held on 8th December 2016, Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, starting from 11:00 am and ending at 17:05 pm.
  • Consultative workshop for natural resource companies will be held on 9th December, 2016, Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, starting from 8:00 am and ending at 12:20 pm.
  • Consultative workshop with all relevant stakeholders will be held on 15th December, 2016, Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, starting from 8:00 am.

It is, therefore, expected that the participation of the aforementioned constituencies (the Media, CSOs, Government MDAs and Natural Resource Companies) will assist the MWEITI MSG to finalise these two policy documents, which are critical in improving public’s access to extractive sector data thereby promoting transparency and accountability and enhancing good governance in the extractive industries.

It is against this background that the EITI Secretariat is appealing for public participation in the development of the two policies. Citizens are urged to supply their input through either:

  1. Attending any of the said workshops, or
  2. Submitting their suggestions on the two policy documents (email Mr Matanda below for copies)

For further information, please contact the MWEITI Secretariat through Keith Matanda on 0885636390 or email ksmatanda@gmail.com.

Ronald Mangani

Secretary to the Treasury

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development

P.O Box 30049

Capital Hill

Lilongwe 3

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