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EITI boss says natural resources should be used for investment

August 26, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The new global chair of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) has asserted that although Sierra Leone is rich in natural resources, there was need for it to be used for investment and making everyday life better for Sierra Leoneans.

John Fredrik Reinfeldt, together with the head of EITI International Secretariat Jonas Moberg, were in the country to discuss with President Ernest Bai Koroma and other stakeholders changes to the new EITI global standard and secure necessary political will for the implementation of the new standard, ahead of the country’s EITI validation next year.

In February 2016, at the Seventh EITI Global Conference in Lima, Peru, the EITI Standard 2016 was adopted and included a new requirement that by 1st January, 2020 all EITI implementing countries must publish a Beneficial Ownership Register.

The 2016 Standard sets out that beneficial ownership information should be incorporated in existing filings by companies to corporate regulators, stock exchanges or agencies regulating extractive industry licencing.

Also, in 2013, Sierra Leone was suspended from the global mining transparency body – Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) – for failing to be open but was recognised as EITI Compliant on 26th April, 2014 after fulfilling all the transparency requirements.

Speaking on arrival Wednesday, 24th August, Mr. Reinfeldt told journalists there was always national ownership of EITI, citing the multi stakeholder group and noted that they would ensure that civil society in Sierra Leone has a say in the process.

He stated that it was their hope that the government showed commitment when it comes to the standard and also open up to transparency surrounding the country’s natural resources.

According to him, they have a standard which EITI countries, including Sierra Leone, have to follow to ensure transparency in revenues, licences and contracts linked to natural resources, in order to show the people of Sierra Leone resources generated from natural resources.

He said it was important and in the best interest of the people to ensure that foreign investment comes into the country to help rebuild Sierra Leone, adding that they would also pay heed to social impact and how the use of the standards could change lives of the people.

“We are here to help get instruments to fight risk of corruption and have more transparency to see the revenues that come out from these resources and we will ensure that it is used to change the lives of the people. International standards are being implemented by the 51 countries, with part of them coming from Africa,” he said.

He maintained that they would reveal beneficial owners behind companies coming into the country with a view to knowing who owns these companies to ensure better governing of these companies to serve the best interest of the people.

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