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Friday, May 20, 2022

As Sierra Leone becomes EITI compliant

…Civil Society concerned about community benefit and safety

By Mohamed Massaquoi

Dr. Richard Conteh
Dr. Richard Conteh

Civil Society Organizations working on natural resources under the umbrella of the Natural Resources Governance and Economic Justice (NaRGEJ) network have raised grave concern as to how Sierra Leoneans can benefit from their God giving wealth.

The network has been monitoring the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) process from its inception to date, when the country has been declared a compliant nation, after a brief spell as a non-compliant nation.

In a press release issued over the weekend, the group noted that they have been particularly interested in the process because the EITI is a key transparency tool for citizens’ enhanced knowledge on natural resource revenue governance (mining, oil and gas), and it is critical in furthering development aspirations of the nation, if administered properly.

In 2013, NaRGEJ produced a study on why Sierra Leone did not attain compliant status, while in February this year the Network published its position on the 2011 Reconciliation report with members of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives and the government of Sierra Leone.

The release reads: “We, the representatives of Natural Resource Governance and Economic Justice Network (NaRGEJ-SL) cautiously join the Multi-Stakeholders Group (MSG) and the nation to accept the accolade for reaching the EITI compliance status. In a letter dated 28th April 2014 addressed to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the EITI Chair, Madam Claire Short noted how pleased she was to inform the President that the EITI Board has designated Sierra Leone as EITI Compliant and that its suspension is lifted as of 26th April 2014 after the Secretariat Reviews noted that the “EITI International Secretariat was satisfied that the remedial actions requested by the Board has been completed.

“The Network accepts the accolade with caution on behalf of the affected communities who hold high hopes for such instruments like the EITI in helping to improve transparency and accountability in the governance of natural resources for this generation and generations yet unborn,” the group noted and added that with the limitations of EITI which only deals with transparency of revenues in the sector, government should proactively address thorny issues such as human rights violations and abuses, poor labour conditions, environmental degradation, etc. and align policies to the African Mining Vision (AMV) and international human rights standard.

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