The Head of Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or LEITI, Konah D. Karmo, has warned here that public disclosure of taxes and revenues from the extractive sectors is a legal requirement, and companies and government agencies failing to comply with this requirement will be sanctioned in accordance with the laws.
The LEITI boss sounded the warning at the climax of a one-day technical workshop aimed at enhancing effectiveness in the preparation of the 6th EITI Report for Liberia.
Under the LEITI Multi-stakeholders Steering Group Regulations of 2009, Sanction regime to address non-compliance to EITI reporting is progressive, ranging from demand to comply, public censure, notice of intent to affect operations, imposition of fines and recommendation for revocation of license, a release says.
Mr. Karmo however said the LEITI Secretariat will not relent on punishing companies and government agencies that will hinder the public’s rights to know proceeds from the extraction of their resources.
A release dated 29 November says the 6th EITI Report for Liberia, which preparation will begin shortly, will capture all material payments of taxes, royalties, land/surface rentals and other administrative fees paid to, and acknowledged by the Government of Liberia by companies in the oil, mining, forestry and agricultural sectors for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
The technical workshop allowed representatives from concerned companies in the extractive sectors and relevant government agencies to review and modify existing LEITI reporting templates, incorporating new taxes that were introduced during the current reporting period.
The occasion also enabled the stakeholders to identify and seek remedies to several challenges affecting the reporting process. The workshop was held on Friday, November 28, 2014 at the P.A’s Rib House in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Government ministries and agencies participating include the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Forestry Development Authority; the National Oil Company of Liberia; the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Revenue Authority.
Also speaking, the Deputy Commissioner for Revenue of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Decontee King Sackie, called for inter-agency collaboration to review and address challenges in the EITI reporting as well as other issues affecting the collection of relevant revenues due the State.
The preparation of EITI Reports which contain disclosure of reconciled data of taxes paid by companies and revenues received by the Government is one of the core functions of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.