The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or LEITI has released its 6th Extractive Industry Transparent Initiative or EITI Report for Liberia.
The report, includes the beneficial ownership disclosure report, mining sector scoping study report, as well as the abridged version of contracts in the extractive sectors. Speaking at a news conference at the LEITI office in Monrovia on Monday, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Deputy Minister for Planning and Human Resource Development at the Lands Mines and Energy Ministry, Stephen Dorbor, said the 6thEITI Report on Liberia – commissioned by the MSG in March 2015 and prepared by Moore Stephens in the United Kingdom in collaboration with Parker and Associates LLC, contains reconciled accounts of payments made to, and revenues received by the Government of Liberia from the oil, mining, forestry and agricultural companies during the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012 up to and including June 30, 2013.
The Report shows that the total amount received by the Government of Liberia from the oil, mining, forestry and agriculture sectors for the period under review amounted to US$185, 960 million, while payment data supplied by e80 companies amounted to US$179,983,000.00, resulting to a net difference of US$5,361,000.00.
“This means that the Government of Liberia acknowledged receiving Five Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-one Thousand Dollars more in revenue than what the companies reported as taxes paid. Also, the data shows that direct government revenue from the extractive sectors increased by nearly sixty-nine percent from US$110.14m for the Fiscal Year 2011/2012 to US$185.96m in Fiscal Year 2012/2013,” Minister Dorbor acknowledged.
Commenting on the beneficial ownership disclosure, Minister Dorbor indicated that in March 2014, the MSG also commissioned the conduct of an audit exercise intended to disclose the beneficial owners of at least 5% of companies involved in the extraction and exploitation of Liberia’s oil, mining, forestry and agricultural resources. Liberia is one of eleven (11) EITI implementing countries that took the courage to pilot this project.
The audit exercise was conducted by the firm Baker Tilly Liberia, in collaboration with Hart Nurse UK and involved 90 companies in total. For the mining sector scoping sector report, Dorbor noted that the solid mineral sector is believed to be dominated by large scale and artisanal and small-scale mining and quarry operations, but revenues from this sector have not been fully included in the LEITI annual reconciliation reports.
He noted spacifically that the study, among other things, examined the scale of operations surrounding artisanal and small scale-mining including the licensing procedures, registration and revenue payments, as well as identified key players or available networks, locations of their operations and strategic opportunities available for the full inclusion of the sector in the implementation of the EITI.
According to him, LEITI has also made great efforts in ensuring increased public understanding of, and access to contracts that the Government of Liberia signed with extractive companies.
“As you may be aware, concession agreements and contracts are sometimes complex with legal diction and huge volumes. These complexities have made it challenging for the average citizens to understand the terms and conditions of these agreements even though they have stake in them. In this vein, the LEITI has simplified 26 concession agreements, summarizing basic terms in the contracts that are of high relevance to the citizens,” Minister Dorbor indicated.
Mr. Dorbor, represented Minister Patrick Sendolo, said the conduct of the exercises and launch of the reports on Monday was not the end of the campaign. Part of the process, he noted, was to discuss the findings of the reports with citizens and solicit their views on the recommendations.
“The launch of the reports will be followed by massive dissemination exercises, including extensive outreach throughout the fifteen counties of Liberia. Additionally, the MSG is committed to further reviewing the findings and recommendations of the reports with the aim of identifying areas for policy design, implementation and evaluation,” he said.
He described the initiatives as very crucial and could be achieved without the participation of all stakeholders of the LEITI process, including members of the press. He said, in its traditional role as agenda setters, the LEITI depends on the media to raise the platform of the EITI process in Liberia and create awareness to educate the public on the findings of these reports and other studies conducted to promote transparent resource management in Liberia.