August 23, 2016 By Mohamed Fernando Conteh
With support from the African Development Bank, the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE) – in partnership with the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) – has concluded a two-day work plan dialogue workshop at Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
The objective of the workshop, which ran from Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August 2016, was “to put strategies in place for full implementation of the changes to the new EITI Standard” which was launched this year at the 7th EITI Global Conference in Lima, Peru.
At the opening ceremony, the Chief of Staff’s keynote address was delivered on his behalf by Ibrahim Yusif Bangura Esq., touching on several key issues around natural resource transparency and accountability. The statement pointed out that “Sierra Leone still relies heavily on mining revenues which creates an urgency to build a shared sense of direction in the management of the sector, and that despite the reported revenue leakages there are still opportunities to maximise income from the sector through the EITI”.
Owing to the government’s firm commitment to fully implement the EITI process and to ensure Sierra Leone remains compliant, the statement further noted that the production of the country’s 2014 Reconciliation Report – due for publication in December 2016 – was underway and that the exercise was being funded by the Government of Sierra Leone. The report, according to the statement, should be of high quality “that is worthy of submission” during validation in 2017.
The Chief of Staff encouraged all stakeholders to fully engage in the deliberations, while at the same time calling on mining companies, civil society, government, and Parliament to support the EITI process.
“The modules designed for the two-day workshop were successfully discussed,” said one of the participants.
The modules include ‘Changes to the EITI Standards’, ‘Extractive Sector Benchmarking Exercise’, ‘Beneficial Ownership Disclosure’, ‘Mining and Illicit Economy’, among others.
Seasoned academicians and experts knowledgeable about the country’s extractive industries led the deliberations.
The workshop also spent significant time reviewing the SLEITI 2016-2018 work plan; a document which the Chief of Staff described as “a three-year plan with many other activities lined up for implementation in accordance with the timelines set”.
Mohamed Amara Salisu, an MSG member representing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, gave an overview of the document. According to him, the work plan consists of six specific objectives: improving extractive governance in Sierra Leone; improved extractive revenue management; strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks for governance of the extractive industries; enhance stakeholder capacity; enhance SLEITI’s capacity to better achieve its objectives; and to mobilise support to enhance citizen’s ownership of the EITI in Sierra Leone.
National Coordinator of SLEITI, Mina Horace, described the workshop as successful, noting that the Secretariat would take urgent steps to finalise the work plan and at the same time work assiduously to implement the recommendations of the workshop.
Earlier, National Coordinator of NACE, Cecilia Mattia, thanked the ADB for funding the workshop and briefed participants on its core objectives.
She also used the occasion to inform participants that the event was the first of two workshops designed to achieve similar objectives.
Presentations were made by Dr. Mustapha Thomas on the topic:”The Road to compliance with EITI Principles”; Herbert McLeod, “Mining and Illicit Economy”; and Daniel Gbondo, “Sierra Leone Extractive Benchmarking Sector.”