GYEITI reports progress in transparency within Govt agencies

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Guyana Extractive Industry Transparency Index (GYEITI) has reported progress is evident, when it comes to Government agencies cooperating with and exhibiting transparency in turning over information on the extractive industry.

According to GYEITI in its 2021 report, all Government agencies that were surveyed by the secretariat, reported on the data they collected during the year. They explained that 95.3 per cent of Government revenue from the extractive sector in 2021 was reconciled, including profit oil.

“All Government entities selected for reconciliation report. Their submissions were signed by senior management and the Auditor General provided an independent assurance report for the return from each Government entity. 2021 audited accounts were provided where available,” the GYEITI said.

The Government agencies that were reviewed include the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB), the Department of Fisheries (DoF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd (NICIL).

It was explained that a total of $127.6 billion in extractive industry revenues were reported for 2021 from these entities… an increase from the previous year’s $93.7 billion. While EITI noted that there has been progress when it comes to agencies reporting to the secretariat, there is still room for improvement.

“As (an) Independent Administrator, there is interaction with a wide range of stakeholders but with a focus on particular areas related to the specific requirements of the EITI Standard.

Workshops were held to explain to stakeholders the purpose and mechanics of the data collection process for the reconciliation, but some of the submissions and questions around data needed indicate that there is a need to repeat this so that the process becomes embedded.”

“Continued and greater engagement of the MSG with the extractive companies is needed both to deepen the understanding of MSG members, especially those not engaged in extractive businesses on a day-to-day basis; and also, to deepen the understanding of the extractive companies of the aims of the EITI implementation in Guyana,” they explained.

According to GYEITI, workshops could be promoted by their Multi-Stakeholder Group, drawing on the experience of individual members. Additionally, more and more people outside of the MSG could be brought on board to participate in these workshops.

Earlier this year, the Government released a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) for an independent administrator to prepare the 5th report. The green light was given to form joint ventures to apply and it was explained by the REOI that the funding would be sourced from the US$20 million in financing the World Bank has provided for the Guyana Petroleum Resources Governance and Management Project.

The EITI is an international body that requires implementing countries to publish comprehensive reports which include the full disclosure of Government revenues from the extractive sector, as well as the disclosure of all material payments made to the Government by companies operating in the oil, gas, and mining sectors.

Guyana’s first report was submitted to the International Secretariat on April 25, 2019. Membership in the EITI means that Guyana will have to adhere to the 12 principles of the EITI standards voluntarily.

These 12 principles include encouraging corporate social responsibility, sharing information, revealing beneficial ownership, and promoting revenue transparency. Failure to do so could be met by suspension from the EITI. Guyana’s next validation commences on April 1, 2024.

The EITI had previously allocated Guyana a score of 52 for implementing the 2019 standard, commending Guyana for the strides taken to make information available and consult with stakeholders, while also providing recommendations to further strengthen the system.