The PWYP Blog gathers together information, updates and ideas about the role of transparency in the extractive industries in creating economic growth and fighting poverty and corruption. On this lively blog, contributors from the PWYP coalition and guest bloggers share their thoughts and opinions, which are open to comment from anybody.
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“Implementing EITI is like riding a bicycle. If you do not pedal, you will fall off” (Ingilab Ahmadov)
Azerbaijan has been one of the EITI’s brightest success stories: in 2009 it became the first country to obtain compliant status and has published the most reports, 14 to date. However, the country has sat on its laurels since, missing out on the chance to shine brighter still and become a pioneer in pushing the boundaries and impact of EITI.
The recent article Focusing on corruption in the Oil & Gas Journal argues that the fight against corruption ‘is too important to be allowed to serve as cover for other political agendas’.
Copyright: Jay Butcher/Tearfund
A recent article in fuel fix has argued that Dodd-Frank 1504 would jeopardize US competitiveness. (Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar Amendment, would oblige extractive companies listed in the US to publish their payments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis for every country where they operate). However the main argument supporting this claim was based on factual inaccuracies.
On a cold Monday morning Publish What You Pay activists from CAFOD, ONE and Tearfund gathered outside the Ministry of Business to demonstrate their support for transparency in the extractive sector. Dressed up as miners, activists handed out Valentine themed campaign leaflets (which combined “tips for a healthy relationship” with the importance of transparency in the extractive sector.
In 2010, the US passed the Dodd-Frank Act which contained a ground breaking provision for transparency. Section 1504 of the Act – also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment- obliges oil, gas and mining companies to publish what they pay to each country where they operate. But this law, which would help lift millions out of poverty, finds itself under threat as oil, gas and mining companies lobby hard against it and have even threatened to sue the SEC if it publishes strong rules for the provision.
Last October, the European Commission published proposals which would oblige extractive companies in the EU to publish what they pay to the governments where they operate. With this information, communities will be able to follow the money and have a say over how it is spent, finally benefiting from their own natural resources.
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 campaign
On 24 January 2012, the British APPG on International Corporate Responsibility and the APPG on the Great Lakes Region of Africa, with PWYP, hosted a panel on transparency in the extractive industries.
The panel discussed the amendment proposals introduced by the European Commission in October 2011, which would oblige listed (and large non-listed) extractive companies to publish what they pay on a country and project basis.
In a ‘methinks-she-doth-protest-too-much’ declaration of transparency love, Shell’s Finance Chief Simon Henry recently wrote an article in the Telegraph stating the oil major’s commitment to transparency, paying fair taxes and seeking better cooperation with tax authorities.
They justified their use of tax havens: _“it’s for sovereign nations to determine their own tax rates in accordance with the revenues they want to generat