Following his appointment on 3 February as the UK’s new Business Minister, Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb will represent Britain this month in negotiations with other European member states on the EU’s proposed new extractive sector transparency legislation. Publish What You Pay is campaigning for effective disclosure laws to be adopted worldwide to fight corruption and shine the light on billions of dollars in payments from oil and mineral companies.
Lamb is known to favour strong country-by-country reporting rules that will hold resource-rich country governments and multinational companies to account for the oil, gas and minerals they exploit. This is a key step in ensuring a fair share of the wealth generated by oil and mining goes to developing countries’ citizens and communities. It will enable the public to hold political elites and big business to account and at the same time ensure a stable operating environment for European companies and their investors. Publish What You Pay will urge Lamb not to waver in securing a meaningful project-by-project reporting requirement to inform and empower local communities who experience so many of the negative impacts of extractive operations.
UK Prime Minster David Cameron supported project-level reporting in a speech in Nigeria in July 2011. But counter-lobbying by oil, gas and mining multinationals which are pushing for exemptions that would gut the legislation means that there is still much to fight for in the EU talks.