Africa: Transparency in Extractives to Tame Graft Starts January

All countries subscribing to the global extractives initiative will effective January 1, 2021, have to publicly publish new and amended contracts signed with mining firms according to transparency disclosure requirements.

Tanzania and Uganda are the East African countries subscribing to the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

EITI said Tanzania and Uganda are among 55 countries implementing global standard requiring publication of new and amended contracts, licences and agreements concluded with extractive companies.

"Many contracts remain unpublished, increasing the opacity of extractives sector and making it more vulnerable to corruption," said the Oslo-based secretariat in communication to countries ascribing to global initiative.

Public scrutiny

Tanzania has over a decade now been a member and in August, the EITI Board approved Uganda's application to join.

Exploration firms have discovered about 57.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in southeastern Tanzania and 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil in western Uganda, but commercial export has not started.

EITI chair Helen Clark said contract transparency creates a powerful disincentive for officials to conclude agreements that are partial or result in personal gain.

"Subjecting agreements to public scrutiny is more likely to result in fairer agreements, drafted in a way that is consistent with the country's legal framework," she said.

EITI is a global standard of oil, gas and mineral resources addressing good industry governance. Greater transparency reduces risks of revenue leakages, misallocation or diversion of revenues, inconsistent terms of trade, conflict of interest, bribery, corruption and state capture.

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