The National Coordinator of Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Mr Franklin Ashiadey has lauded the new EITI reporting requirements, saying it encourages the provision of relevant and reliable information.
“The new EITI reporting requirement raised the EITI reporting bar significantly and it is expected to improve the quality of transparency and generate a great deal of useful data that makes the EITI standards more robust, more relevant and more stronger tool for citizens to demand accountability,” Mr Ashiadey said at a workshop for journalists on the 2012/13 GHEITI reports.
The EITI is a global standard for the governance of a country’s oil, gas and mineral resources and it is implemented by governments, in collaboration with companies and civil society.
The publication of reports providing details of extractive industry payments and government receipts is a requirement of the initiative.
Ghana signed on to the initiative in 2003 to enhance transparency in the extractive industry.
The new reporting requirements are part of the revised Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) standards, which were adopted in Sydney, Australia in May, 2013 aimed to improve the quality of transparency and to broaden the scope of disclosure.
Aside encouraging countries to disclose contracts between companies and governments and transparency to oil and mineral concession in the reporting, the new EITI standards also include transparency of government spending and budgets in general.
Mr Ashiadey said the only credible way to lower the high expectation among the citizens about the country’s natural resource endowment is to enhance transparency and accountability by disclosing and publishing government receipts as well as extractive companies’ payments.
Commenting on the 2012/2013 GHEITI reports, which were prepared in line with the new reporting standards, Mr Ashiadey said they went beyond the reconciliation of payments and receipts to provide information on the legal and fiscal regime, the sectors contribution to the economy and state participation, among others.
He said the reports also identified various weaknesses within the extractive sector revenue institutions and provided recommendations to strengthen them.
“Already the recommendations of the EITI reports have informed a wide range of policy reforms not only in the mining sector but also in the new oil and gas sector,” he said.
Mr Ashiadey expressed the hope that the EITI would help accelerate the pace of reforms in the extractive sector to help both the government and the private sector.
“GHEITI through its independent reports has set the pace for government decisions to carry out reforms in the extractive industry hence ensuring that the tenets of transparency and accountability in the industry are protected and upheld,” he added.