March 4, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
The Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) yesterday concluded a day’s stakeholders’ discussions to finalise a draft report on value chain analysis conducted by Adam Smith International, a leading international authority on the governance and development of oil, gas and mining industries.
After being declared compliant under the 2011 Rules in April 2014, the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) of SLEITI contracted Adam Smith International to conduct an EITI value chain analysis to increase understanding of the scope of available information and assist Sierra Leone in identifying key issues that needed to be addressed in order to comply with EITI requirements, and establish a process linked to national priorities and government policies.
It could be recalled that a new EITI Standard was agreed on and launched at the 6th Global Conference held in Sydney on 23 and 24 May, 2013 to ensure more transparency in the years ahead. The 2013 EITI Standard replaced the 2011 Rules and it is focused on how transparency in the EITI process is leading to change in the 39 implementing countries, including Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the workshop, National Coordinator of SLEITI, Mina Horace, said the discussions would help Sierra Leone better implement the EITI, noting that the process evolves with time and that the rules have changed, thus Sierra Leoneans should know about the award of licenses to mining, oil and gas companies that operate in the country.
State House Chief of Staff, Saidu Conton Sesay, described the workshop as timely and pledged the government’s commitment to implementing EITI process for the benefit of the entire citizenry.
Presenting the draft report on the value chain analysis, Adam Smith’s Extractive Sector Governance and EITI expert, Jeremy Weate, touched on the review of the 2011 EITI Rules and the adoption of the 2013 Standard, which he described as excellent as it took into consideration feedbacks from other countries.
He said the EITI could be a vital component of reform that draws more civil society participation, noting that the workshop would help stakeholders think concretely about the report and take the necessary steps.
“EITI needs to improve governance in the mining sector and civil society has to step up and support the secretariat. They should be stimulating public debates among citizens about corporate social responsibility of mining companies,” he said. “It would be good to have policy debate and the EITI should be used to move the debate forward. The debate should be focused on real issues and be impact driven. The EITI should be a platform to stimulate the debate.”
Mr. Weate further pointed out that the EITI should not only be churning report, but initiate partnership with government agencies in the governance of the mining sector, adding that civil society too should be held accountable as they play a crucial role in the process.