After many years of campaigning, Malawi joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2015 to ensure mining contributes to economic transformation in a way that safeguards rights. This week, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Board met and affirmed that Malawi has made meaningful progress on implementing the initiative.
The EITI Board applauded the government and the multi-stakeholder group comprised of government institutions, civil society groups and companies.
Advances in fiscal and contract transparency, as well as the launch of an online license cadastre and publication of extractives contracts, have helped create the basis for governing the sector in an inclusive and equitable manner. In taking this decision, the Board welcomed Malawi’s efforts to go beyond the requirements of the EITI Standard in disclosing extractives production data, providing an effective diagnostic of inconsistencies across various sources.
The Board also made a series of recommendations in the Final Validation Report. This includes ensuring all revenue from the extractive sector is reported. There were gaps in information relating to the Petroleum Training Fund and company mandatory social payments.
Extractive sector revenues are largely recorded in the single treasury account. Some revenues are retained internally in off-budget funds, such as the Petroleum Training Fund, managed by the Department of Mines. But significant information is missing or unclear, with no values reported through EITI or otherwise.
The report covers mandatory social expenditures for two mining companies and all petroleum sector companies. But almost no payments are reported nor is any reason for lack of payments identified. Reported mandatory social payments are not disaggregated sufficiently. The report does describe and disclose voluntary social payments associated with one reporting oil and gas company.
It is a moment to celebrate, but also an opportunity to take stock of what needs to happen going forward.
On a lighter note –
In 2015, we joined the E-I-T-I
Some detractors didn’t understand and asked us why.
We pushed on and sent in our application
Thanks to the Secretariat and MSG – what dedication!
Civil society and some civil servants had struggled for years
To get the message to the right ears.
The initiative, they said, was to improve the sector,
To attract good investors and help the state in its role as protector.
Corporates, activists, government folk
Sat around a table, one another they were not allowed to choke.
Working, learning (and arguing) together
To make sure Malawi’s resources make a difference forever.
The fully-costed workplan set the tone.
To better understand the revenue, contracts and stone,
Companies and governments were asked to report
On all they were doing to ensure Malawi was not being sold short.
Contracts and licences were given to many a company,
But no longer are these shrouded in secrecy.
And by 2020, we will also discover,
The beneficial owners, so crooks take cover!
What an achievement
After time (and donor money) spent
The process, reports and impacts assessed
Meaningful progress as we continue on our quest.
With the EITI board’s recent decision
We have a joint, renewed mission
For Malawi’s uranium, rare earths, graphite and gold
To bring transformation now, in future, for young and old.
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