27 October 2012

Zambia: 'Zambia's Transparency On Mining Revenue Good'

GLOBAL Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) board chairperson, Clare Short has said Zambia's EITI compliant status will help ensure that the mineral resources are well managed for the benefit of the people.

Ms Short, who was in Zambia for an international EITI board meeting which ended in Lusaka yesterday, said Zambia was able to achieve its global standards of ensuring transparency of revenue from mining companies.

Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Short said Zambia was committed to being transparent about how it managed its resources, adding that this had been demonstrated in the 2009 reconciliation report.

She said it was, however, important for the media to help publish the figures so that the public could be able to understand and know how much their country received from the oil, gas and mining companies.

Ms Short said there was considerable improvement in the way the declaration and management of mining revenue was being done.

She said that Zambia was the first country to become EITI compliant in the East African region and the 15th country in the world.

She said Mozambique was also declared an EITI compliant country yesterday, joining Zambia and making it the 16th country.

"EITI compliance means that the country has an effective process for annual disclosure and reconciliation of all revenues from the extractive sector, allowing citizens to see how much their country receives from oil, gas and mining companies," she said.

She noted that despite the latest report indicating that the local mining sector brought in more than US$500 million in revenue to the Zambian Government in 2009, the country had not benefitted as it should from the plentiful copper and other mineral resources.

She attributed the failure by Zambia to reap more benefits from the mining sector to poor governance and ungenerous contracts.

"EITI compliance is a basic platform that encourages the transparency necessary for Zambians to be able to agree how best to address the challenges and it is an important step on the way to better management," Ms Short said.

There are now 16 countries that are EITI compliant.

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