EITI commends Guyana for efforts to make extractive sector transparent
…makes recommendations to strengthen oversight
The Extractive Industries Transparency Index (EITI) has allocated Guyana a score of 52 for implementing the 2019 standard, commending Guyana for the strides to make information available and consult with stakeholders, while also providing recommendations to further strengthen the system.
Guyana’s score of 52 includes a score of 42 on “outcomes and impact”, 60 on “stakeholder engagement” and 53.5 per cent when it comes to transparency. According to EITI, Guyana did manage to establish a functioning platform for multi-stakeholder discussions.
“Guyana’s efforts to tailor the scope of its EITI implementation to address public demands for information beyond the extractive industries, to cover forestry and fisheries, is welcome,” the report states.
However, it was pointed out that Guyana needs to sharpen its focus in following up on EITI recommendations and the annual review of outcomes and impact. Guyana was further commended for its efforts to conduct outreaches during the pandemic, but was urged to ensure a broad range of “government, industry and civil society” constituencies are consulted when developing the annual work plan.
It was also noted that Guyana has made commendable efforts to ensure disclosures related to contracts, commodity sales and environmental related matters concerning the extractive sector. And while EITI noted that Guyana has been disclosing revenue from extractive industries, there are weaknesses in company reporting and taxpayer confidentiality constraints to grapple with.
In its report, the EITI Board recommended, among other things, that Guyana ensure employment data as submitted by companies in the extractive sector, are disaggregated by gender. They also recommended that Guyana ensure all legal or contractual mandates for companies to make social expenditures are disclosed, as well as the expenditures themselves.
“To strengthen implementation, Guyana is encouraged to systematically disclose information on ongoing legal reform in the extractive industries, such as draft legislative reforms, with a view to using EITI reporting as an annual diagnostic of implementation of key reforms,” the Board said.
“In accordance with Requirement 6.1, Guyana should ensure that all mandatory social expenditures are disclosed, where material social expenditures by companies are mandated by law or the contract with the government that governs the extractive investment.”
It was further recommended that Guyana ensure both Government and companies in the extractive sector, fully comply with all aspects of implementing the standard. This includes ensuring sufficient technical and financial resources.
Another recommendation, which EITI said is in accordance with Requirement 2.5, was for Guyana to ensure that the beneficial ownership of all companies holding or applying for a mining, oil and gas licence, is comprehensively and reliably disclosed. This, according to EITI, should be the case as of January 2022.
EITI further urged more transparency when it comes to disaggregating financial data for extractive projects, as well as making sure that all material payments and revenues are disclosed by Government entities and extractive companies.
The sharing of data and revenues, is something that is encapsulated in the Natural Resource Fund (NRF), for which the Bank of Guyana recently published a report detailing income for the fund.
According to EITI, however, there should also be a clear, open data policy on the access and release of EITI data, which should be made available in an open data format online and also be publicised.
They also urged Guyana to implement a publicly available register or cadastre, in accordance with Requirement 2.3, that would provide information on all active licences including names of licence holders, coordinates, dates of application, award and expiry, and commodities covered.
“In the interim, Guyana should ensure that this information, including dates of application and of expiry, are publicly disclosed for each active licence held by companies included in the scope of reporting,” they urged.
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. Failure to do so could be met by suspension from EITI. Guyana’s next validation commences on April 1, 2024. (G3)