Press Release (Government of Malawi): Malawi Designated as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Candidate Country 4 December 2015 · by Rachel Etter-Phoya · in Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. · Advertisements Share this:TweetEmailPrintMoreShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related
what does the writer think of this EITI development?
A good development - it will hopefully result in greater evidence and access to information in the extractive industries which can only improve decision-making on mining, forestry, oil and gas, and participation by stakeholders in holding duty-bearers and companies accountable, especially on payment and revenue. It should also open up a broader discussion on how and if resources are being used for national economic development (i.e. how much revenue are we generating and where is it going), an important question when it comes to the use of non-renewable, finite resources.The commitment of MWEITI to implement contract transparency and publish beneficial owners will be interesting to follow as well.
However, MWEITI is constrained by the limitations of the EITI itself and in essence, much of the work of the EITI could arguably be conducted in the regular business of government rather than through an initiative, e.g. auditing of mining by the National Audit Office, disclosure of receipts and contracts by the Department of Mines and MRA. I suppose this sort of disclosure has not been the case in most countries which provides the rationale for the initiative that now 49 countries are part of. In the long-term, the EITI should be mainstreamed in government systems. Furthermore, given the relatively small size of Malawi’s extractives sector in terms of contribution to government revenue and employment, we need to continually ask if the amount of money being put into the initiative (primarily by European development partners) is proportionate to the benefits of creating a solid foundation for accountability in the extractives, which Government hopes and presumes is a sector that will grow in the next decade, at least according to the Mines and Minerals Policy (2013) and the nearly-expired Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II.
That said, I am interested to observed one of the unique features of the EITI - the multi-stakeholder group, which brings together the three constituencies (government, private sector and civil society) to develop, own and implement a work plan. As far as I know, there are very few fora that allow such collaboration in industry, perhaps bar the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative that Malawi is also implementing (http://www.constructiontransparency.org/malawi). Will this promote greater trust? What will the impact be on decision-making on use of resources and associated revenue? What impact, if any, will this have on investment?
Full disclosure: I am part of this multi-stakeholder group as an alternate for one of the civil society organisations.
This http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/eiti-agenda-advances-despite-divergent-views is an interesting piece on current global thinking and voices on the EITI following the last Board Meeting in October.
In countries with institutions that are responsible, and which advocate and champion responsible governance in state institutions, its probably easier to adopt such initiatives, and make them into a success. In Malawi, where business as usual is the order of the day, with relatively weak institutions, I have doubts whether such initiatives will amount to anything.
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