09 October 2013
LUNGOS has once again welcomed Ms Hilda Harnack, a World Bank Consultant in the field of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). During her second visit, Ms Harnack has met with members of Civil Society and other LUNGOS stakeholders to present the ideals behind EITI.
Following her presentation, Mrs Harnack remarked that this meeting exceeded her expectations. “The questions raised were very relevant and the debate was very useful for everybody who attended. Civil Society is grasping how important it is for them to be engaged in this initiative that promotes transparency.Seychelles could be an oil producer in future years, therefore it is vital for civil society to remain vigilant to the impacts that the oil industry could bring to the country., particularly if huge sums of money starts to come in,Civil Society needs to actively influence government decisions in better manage the resources.”
The Minister of Finance Trade and Investment, Mr Pierre Laporte, has already made a public statement to join EITI to strengthen Seychelles’ governance in the upstream petroleum sector. There is a deadline under the current Development Policy Operation (DPO) between the World Bank and the Government of Seychelles for submission of EITI candidacy by May 2014.
Before Seychelles applies for EITI candidacy,the country is expected to put together a working group comprising of Civil Society, the private sector and Government so as to oversee the implementation of the initiative. The Seychelles will have to comply with the requirements of the EITI. The Working Group is expected to produce an EITI report with contextual information about the sector as well as reconciliation of company payments and Government receipts. The working group is expected to publish the report both nationally and internationally, so as to promote public debate on issues related to the Oil sector. Seychelles’s initiative will then be validated by EITI. Once validation has been approved, only then does the Seychelles become a compliant country and member of EITI.
Ms Harnack has been assigned the task of assisting with the development of the EITI Scoping Study for Seychelles. Ms Harnack has extensive experience with the EITI implementation in a number of countries, including the Soa Tome and Honduras, which combined with the broad-based knowledge of Petroleum Operations, will assist in expediting proceedings. Ms Harnack is currently in Seychelles to initiate the scoping notice. Ms Harnack met with PetroSeychelles to review and discuss the requirements for the EITI implementation.
EITI is the global standard for promoting greater transparency and accountability in countries rich in oil, gas, and mineral resources. The EITI was launched in 2002 and since then has been endorsed by 39 countries across the world.