Myanmar appoints EITI lead

An important milestone towards requiring transparency of its oil and gas revenues.

President Thein Sein has appointed U Soe Thein, Minister of the President’s Office, to lead EITI implementation in Myanmar.

The appointment of an EITI lead marks a milestone in the process towards EITI candidature, showing that the government is now taking the necessary actions to deliver on the commitment to implement EITI.

Revenues from oil and gas is the largest source of foreign income for the government of Myanmar. According to the IMF, revenues from gas will likely increase by 85% over the next three years as the Shwe gas project becomes operational. By preparing to implement the EITI, the government is taking practical steps to ensure that a robust framework is in place for dialogue about the governance of these natural resources.

The announcement, made on Friday 14 December, also establishes the EITI Leading Authority, a high-level committee responsible for overseeing the preparations for implementation. According to the announcement “the Leading Authority is meant to ensure better management for extractive industries of natural resources, develop good investment environment, create opportunity for a frank and transparent discussion between private investors and the people…”.

Members of this committee include U Than Htay, Minister of Energy, Dr Myint Aung, Minister of Mines, U Win Tun, Minister of Environment and Conservation, and U Win Shein, Minister of Finance.

The responsibility of the high-level committee is to oversee the formation of a multi-stakeholder group, develop an EITI work plan and take the necessary steps to apply for EITI Candidate status. The committee is also tasked with initiating reforms in the extractive sector so as to ensure that the country’s natural resources contribute to sustainable development. President Thein Sein has set a deadline of 31 December 2013 for these tasks to be completed.

Picture: The announcement on the front page of New Light of Myanmar, Saturday 15 December 2012.

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