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CSOs vow to ensure transparency in extractive industry

By Hassan G. Koroma from Bo

As the multi-stakeholders group of Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI), in collaboration with the National Advocacy Coalition on the Extractives (NACE) – a subset of the German International Cooperation (GIZ) – on Monday 31 March 2014 ended a ten days nationwide sensitisation on the Third EITI Reconciliation Report in  Bo, Civil Society organisations operating in that part of the country have vowed to support the EITI process and ensure that the initiative achieve its aims and objectives.

Making a statement at the ceremony, chairman of Civil Society Organisations in Bo District, Anthony Blake, said as mouthpiece of the people they would closely work with the initiative and ensure that it achieves it purpose in the country.

“We promise you that we will work with you till the end. We have gone through a lot and we don’t want to go back to the past. It is the right of every Sierra Leonean to enjoy the proceeds of the country’s natural resources. Mismanagement and corruption among ourselves has made us remain poorer with all the minerals we have,” he said.

He added that the SLEITI should establish a database for comprehensive reporting on extractive industries which operate in Sierra Leone.

Chairman of NACE, Dr. Mustapha Saidu Thomas, who is also a lecturer at the Department of Geology, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, described the country mineral wealth situation as a paradox of plenty, as the country has a lot of minerals but the people are poor because the proceeds do not reflect on their livelihood.

He encouraged participants to read the report and understand its content, disseminate the message to others and make the EITI a major topic of discussion in the country.

He called on CSOs to work with EITI in a bid to build the nation for future generation.

Representative of Cluff Gold, Dauda Kamara, said the EITI should be taken seriously as many people are not au fait about how much mining companies pay to government, and that the initiative would enhance their knowledge about the quantum of monies paid to government by mining companies.

Similar sensitisation meetings were held in Pujehun and Kailahun districts respectively, and residents expressed gratitude for the depth of information acquired from SLEITI.