EFFORTS by Tanzania to ensure transparency and accountability in the mining, oil and gas sectors have paid dividends.
The global board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), responsible for ensuring transparency and accountability of payments and revenues from natural resources, on Tuesday officially declared the country a fully-compliant member.
Announcing the accomplishment at a media conference in Dar es Salaam, the Chairman to TEITI - Multi- Stakeholders Working group (MSG), Judge (rtd) Mark Bomani, said Tanzania has been an EITI Candidate Country since 2009, which was a preliminary stage of membership.
"In essence, EITI monitors government's publication on what is received from extractive companies and the latter publishing what they pay to governments. These figures are then matched up," Judge Bomani explained. He added that EITI aimed at strengthening governance by improving transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.
"It is a voluntary initiative that is implemented by countries whose governments sign-up to do so," he observed. EITI is a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organizations.
Before being accepted as an EITI candidate country, governments must meet certain sign-up criteria and a country is deemed 'compliant' once it has been assessed through the validation process. Clarifying on the situation that pushed for the establishment of EITI, Judge Bomani said although approximately 3.5 billion people live in resource-rich countries, most of them do not benefit much from the extraction of their natural resources.
"The Tanzanian journey of transparency and accountability of mining, oil and gas sectors under EITI rules and standards began when President Jakaya Kikwete made a commitment for Tanzania to to uphold EITI standard in managing its extractive industry," he explained.
EITI is both part of the World Bank's response to its own Extractive Industries Review and also one of the many tools identified in the bank's recent Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy. According to Judge Bomani, Tanzania has produced two reconciliation reports of payments since it joined EITI, the first covering July 2008 to June 2009 and the second covering the period between July 2009 and June 2010.
Asked to comment on efforts by the Taanzania secretariat of EITI with 16 members to resolve endless friction between artisanal miners and large scale mining companies, Judge Bomani said much of the differences could be handled by the concerned ministry, but in future his office would be able to play more active role on the matter.
He strongly advocated the need to establish mineral selling centres where dealers can receive fair payments, with the government receiving more revenue as well.