Salone on course to produce EITI reports


June 12, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Chief of Staff, Office of the President, yesterday stated that work was in progress for Sierra Leone to produce its annual activity reports on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for 2013 and 2014, by the end of the year.

Saidu Konton Sesay was speaking at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown during the opening ceremony of a re-orientation workshop organized by the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI), in collaboration with National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE), on EITI principles, processes and procedures for members of the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG).

He said although Sierra Leone was still a new complaint nation, many were already concerned about whether the country would remain compliant or not, and that in addressing that concern in the short run the country was obliged to publish two reports by the end of the year.

“Let me assure you all that work is in progress on these reports with the draft annual activity report in circulation to be finalized shortly. Procurement of the independent administrator to produce the 2013 report is also in progress,” he said.

Mr. Sesay noted that after acceding to the EITI in 2006, Sierra Leone was ushered into a new chapter of transparency in the management of its natural resources.

He continued that with the mining sector being one of the main drivers of the economy, the country had gone beyond the technicalities of producing EITI reports that disclose revenues and payments flows from the extractive sector to embracing the initiative as a tool to drive national development.

According to the State House Chief of Staff, since 2010, SLEITI has produced three reconciliation reports and two validation reports, in addition to other key documents.

“The availability of these reports within the public domain has and will continue to create an open space for dialogue through which the critical mass are empowered to influence decision making,” he noted and implored participants to gain as much knowledge as they can, which will be handy especially during the post-Ebola phase.

Also, a representative from civil society, Dr. Mustapha Thomas, observed that getting EITI compliant status does not mean meeting citizens’ expectations, especially in the management of the country’s natural resources.

While acknowledging the contribution of the Chief of Staff at State House, Dr. Thomas maintained that EITI does not address how proceeds from natural resources are managed.

On his part, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, who spoke on behalf of mining companies in the country, said the journey with EITI had come a long way and that at some point it was difficult but they were happy to have been able to navigate to compliant status.

“Let me say that our commitment to the EITI process remains undiminished,” he assured.