Skip to main content

The Board agreed that Sierra Leone has made meaningful progress overall in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard.

Outcome of the Validation of Sierra Leone.

Decision reference
2019-46 / BM-43
Decision basis
2016 EITI Standard, Requirement 8.3 EITI Validation deadlines and consequences

Board decision

The Board came to the following conclusion regarding Sierra Leone's status: 

The Board agrees that Sierra Leone has made meaningful progress overall in implementing the EITI Standard. In accordance with requirement 8.3c, Sierra Leone will be requested to undertake corrective actions before the second Validation on 17 December 2020.

The Board takes note of the Validation’s findings regarding Requirement 1.2 on industry engagement. The Board acknowledges that the Independent Validator and International Secretariat reached different assessments regarding the requirement. The Board considers that progress in meeting Requirement 1.2 has been meaningful, but emphasises its expectation that Sierra Leone demonstrates progress in addressing the corrective action related to industry engagement in its second Validation.  The Board agrees to monitor progress with the corrective actions and revisit the issues following the next Validation.

EITI implementation in Sierra Leone has improved the availability of information and strengthened dialogue between stakeholders. The EITI Board commends the Government of Sierra Leone’s commitment to EITI implementation and Sierra Leone’s efforts to embed EITI provisions in national legislation. The Board encourages Sierra Leone to embed systematic disclosures of data required by the EITI Standard in routine government and company systems, building on companies’ current statutory reporting to government.

The Board considers that the government’s strong commitment to EITI implementation has not yet been matched by commensurate engagement by industry and civil society. The focus on reconciliation of extractives revenues collected at the national level has not yet been combined with efforts to clarify subnational revenue flows, both in terms of direct payments and transfers from the national government. The Board encourages Sierra Leone to clarify the status of government support for extractives companies, the existence of any barter or infrastructure arrangements and the scope of companies’ mandatory social expenditures.

There is potential for the EITI to contribute to an annual diagnostic of the management of licensing activities, clarifying the basis for official mineral production and export figures and supporting an evidence-based public debate on artisanal and small-scale mining. Sierra Leone is required to ensure that beneficial ownership data is made publicly available by 1 January 2020.

The Board has determined that Sierra Leone will have 18 months, i.e. until 17 December 2020 to carry out corrective actions regarding the requirements relating to industry engagement (1.2), civil society engagement (1.3), MSG governance (1.4), work plan (1.5), license allocations (2.2), state-participation (2.6), production data (3.2), comprehensiveness (4.1), barter and infrastructure arrangements (4.3), direct subnational payments (4.6), data quality (4.9), subnational transfers (5.2), social expenditures (6.1) and public debate (7.1), with industry engagement, MSG governance, barter and infrastructure arrangements, direct subnational payments, subnational transfers and social expenditures being the main areas of concern. Failure to achieve meaningful progress with considerable improvements across several individual requirements in the second Validation will result in suspension in accordance with the EITI Standard. In accordance with the EITI Standard, Sierra Leone’s MSG may request an extension of this timeframe, or request that Validation commences earlier than scheduled.

The Board’s decision followed a Validation that commenced on 1 July 2018. In accordance with the 2016 EITI Standard, an initial assessment was undertaken by the International Secretariat. The findings were reviewed by an Independent Validator, who submitted a draft Validation report to the MSG for comment. The MSG’s comments on the report were taken into consideration by the independent Validator in finalising the Validation report and the independent Validator responded to the MSG’s comments. The final decision was taken by the EITI Board.

Corrective actions and strategic recommendations

The EITI Board agreed the following corrective actions to be undertaken by Sierra Leone. Progress in addressing these corrective actions will be assessed in a second Validation commencing on 17 December 2020:

  1. In accordance with Requirement 1.2, the industry constituency is required to ensure the MSG representatives and broader constituency is fully, actively and effectively engaged in all aspects of EITI implementation. To galvanise industry's attention, the constituency should formalise its consultative framework for industry, such as through revitalising the Chamber of Mines. The MSG may wish to ensure EITI implementation objectives are consistent with priorities of the industry constituency, and ensure that concerns of the industry are adequately reflected at the MSG and in EITI reporting.

  2. In accordance with Requirement 1.3.a, all interested civil society stakeholders must be able to fully, actively and effectively engage in the EITI process. The constituency may wish to formalise further the constituency’s engagement in the EITI process, to strengthen coordination between MSG members and the broader constituency. The constituency is also encouraged to ensure that all agreed policies, rules and documents are publicised online and regularly shared with the wider constituency. They may wish to ensure communication channels are formalised and regularly monitored and refreshed.

  3. In accordance with Requirement 1.4, the MSG should ensure its updated MoU and Internal Rules clearly cover all provisions of Requirement 1.4.b and that any deviations from these rules in practice are publicly noted and addressed. Civil society and industry constituencies should formalise channels for wider constituency engagement, including by developing, agreeing and publishing procedures for nominating and changing MSG representatives in an open and transparent manner. The MSG is also encouraged to consider keeping public attendance records and publishing MSG minutes online, to ensure greater transparency of the MSG’s discussions and decisions.

  4. In accordance with Requirement 1.5, Sierra Leone must ensure that its EITI workplan is updated annually and may wish to employ the most recent guidance to ensure recent developments and all required aspects of the EITI Standard are incorporated. In doing so, the MSG must consult a wide range of stakeholders, including those not directly represented at the MSG.

  5. In accordance with Requirement 2.2, Sierra Leone should publicly disclose the procedures for awarding and transferring all extractives licenses, including specific technical and financial criteria and any non-trivial deviations from the applicble legal and regulatory framework.

  6. In accordance with Requirement 2.6.b, Sierra Leone should ensure that where the government and SOE(s) have provided loans or loan guarantees to mining, oil and gas companies operating within the country, details on these loans and guarantees are clarified, as well as any details on transactions related to them. Sierra Leone is urged to revisit such issues annually, to ensure comprehensive reporting of the state’s participation in the extractive sector.

  7. In accordance with Requirement 3.2, the Government of Sierra Leone should ensure that all production volumes and values, including for the ASM subsector, is publicly accessible and reported on.

  8. In accordance with Requirement 4.1.a, Sierra Leone should ensure that all significant payments made by extractive companies are considered in determining material revenue streams. Any omissions should be documented and justified. It should only exclude entities where payments are demonstrably not material, in accordance with Requirement 4.1.c. The MSG should also ensure that the government unilaterally reports all government revenues from the extractive sector, by individual revenue stream, regardless of its inclusion in the reconciliation exercise as per Requirement 4.1.d.

  9. In accordance with Requirement 4.3, Sierra Leone is required to consider whether any agreements, or set of agreements, involve the provisions of goods and services (including loans, grants and infrastructure works), in full or partial exchange for oil, gas or mining exploration or production rights. To do so, the MSG and the Independent Administrator needs to gain a full understanding of the terms of any relevant agreement and contracts between the state and other parties involved, the value of such agreements, and the materiality of such agreements relative to conventional agreements. Where such agreements are material, the MSG and Independent Administrator should ensure that EITI Reports provide a level of detail and transparency commensurate with disclosures and reconciliation of other payments and revenue streams.

  10. In accordance with Requirement 4.6, Sierra Leone should undertake a comprehensive review of which direct taxes and levies extractive companies are subject to at subnational level. Sierra Leone should ensure that reporting mechanisms are established which allow for estimation of total subnational payments in Sierra Leone, to determining whether payments are material. The MSG should provide a comprehensive explanation of how such payments are determined, paid, and managed. Where material, the Sierra Leone should ensure that reconciled information on all companies’ payments to subnational government entities and the collection of payments are publicly accessible.

  11. In accordance with Requirement 4.9.a, the EITI requires an assessment of whether the payments and revenues are subject to credible, independent audit, applying international auditing standards. In accordance with Requirement 4.9.b.iii and the standard Terms of Reference for the Independent Administrator agreed by the EITI Board, the MSG and Independent Administrator should:

    1. Agree on reporting templates ahead of data collection

    2. Ensure that the Independent Administrator provides a clear and categorical assessment of comprehensiveness and reliability of the (financial) data presented.

    3. Ensure that the Independent Administrator provides an assessment of whether all companies and government entities within the agreed scope of the EITI reporting process provided the requested information. Any gaps or weaknesses in reporting to the Independent Administrator must be disclosed in the EITI Report, including naming any entities that failed to comply with the agreed procedures, and an assessment of whether this is likely to have had material impact on the comprehensiveness and reliability of the report.

  12. In accordance with Requirement 5.2, Sierra Leone should ensure that subnational transfers of extractive sector revenues are publicly disclosed, when such transfers are mandated by national law or other revenue sharing mechanism. In addition, Sierra Leone should publish the detailed transfer amounts calculated in accordance with the relevant revenue formulas to each subnational entity under both the Diamond Area Community Development Fund (DACDF) and surface rent payments that are distributed by central government agencies. Lastly, Sierra Leone should ensure actual transfers are disclosed in detail and summarised, highlighting any deviation from statutory calculations.

  13. In accordance with Requirement 6.1, Sierra Leone should ensure mandatory social expenditures, such as expenditures under Community Development Agreements, are comprehensively disclosed each reporting year. For all material mandatory social expenditures, companies are required to disclose the nature and value of transactions, whether in cash or in kind, and ensure that disclosures be disaggregated by non-government beneficiary with information on the names and functions of third-party beneficiaries. Sierra Leone is encouraged to reconcile mandatory social expenditures and consider disclosing information on companies’ voluntary social expenditures.

  14. In accordance with Requirement 7.1, Sierra Leone should ensure timely dissemination of EITI data and findings as well as effective outreach to key stakeholders. It should also ensure that the SLEITI open data policy is implemented in practice. To strengthen implementation, Sierra Leone may wish to ensure that realistic workplan activities related to dissemination and outreach are duly implemented. Sierra Leone is encouraged to explore creative ways to disseminate EITI data to strengthen the EITI’s contribution to public debate. There were evidences of CSOs using data from the EITI reports in the past to launch reports. However, these reports are not recent, indicating that the CSOs activities in the extractive sector in Sierra Leone have slowed down.

The government and the MSG are encouraged to consider the other recommendations in the Validator’s Report and the International Secretariat’s initial assessment, and to document the MSG’s responses to these recommendations in the next annual reporting on progress.

Background

The Government of Sierra Leone first announced its intention to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in June 2006 and formed their first multi-stakeholder group (MSG), the Sierra Leone EITI Steering Committee (SLEITI), in June 2007. Sierra Leone became an EITI Candidate in February 2008 at the EITI Board’s meeting in Accra.

The Validation process commenced on 1 July 2018. In accordance with the Validation procedures, an initial assessment [English] was prepared by the International Secretariat. The MSG submitted comments to the initial assessment and the draft Validation report [English], together with comments from the company Sierra Rutile / Iluka Resources [English] on 4 April. The Validation report was subsequently finalised by the Validator [English | French].

The Validation Committee reviewed the case on 23 May 2019. Based on committee-members’ comments and deliberations, a revised paper was presented again on 29 May 2019 including more nuanced language regarding industry engagement in the EITI process in Sierra Leone. From the findings above, the Validation Committee agreed to recommend the assessment card and corrective actions outlined below.

The Committee also agreed to recommend an overall assessment of “meaningful progress” in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard. Requirement 8.3.c. of the EITI Standard states that:

ii.    Overall assessments. Pursuant to the Validation Process, the EITI Board will make an assessment of overall compliance with all requirements in the EITI Standard.

iv.   Meaningful progress. The country will be considered an EITI candidate and requested to undertake corrective actions until the second Validation.

The Validation Committee agreed to recommend a period of 18 months, i.e until 17 December 2020 to undertake the corrective actions. This recommendation takes into account that the challenges identified are relatively significant and seeks to align the Validation deadline with the timetable for Sierra Leone’s upcoming EITI Reports.

Scorecard for Sierra Leone: 2019

Assessment of EITI requirements

  • Not met
  • Partly met
  • Mostly met
  • Fully met
  • Exceeded
Scorecard by requirement View more Assessment View more

Overall Progress

MSG oversight

1.1Government engagement

Sierra Leone faced several challenges in recent years. In 2014-2018, there was ineffective government engagement. This seems to have been resolved with a renewed leadership of SLEITI. The government has escalated government leadership of EITI to higher levels and enhanced its engagement. The government also funds most of SLEITI implementations.

1.2Company engagement

The Board considered that company engagement has been meaningful, but expects significant improvements. While there are no barriers, companies are not fully and effectively engaged. There appears to be no forum, either formal or ad hoc, through which industry can coordinate its activities as a constituency.

1.3Civil society engagement

CSOs are able to be fully, actively engaged in the design, implementation and evaluation of the EITI process without coercion. The main barrier for access to the MSG appears to be due to issues of internal coordination, resulting in insufficient consultations, creating a disconnect between the wider constituency’s demands and EITI implementation.

1.4MSG governance

Statutory rules were recently updated, although not followed in practice. Rules for MSG membership are unclear and there are concerns about inadequate representation, particularly for civil society. CSOs have not refreshed their members since MSG formation, in breach of the agreed rules. There is no transparent procedure for appointing members to the MSG.

1.5Work plan

The MSG’s objectives have not changed since 2016. The 2017-2019 workplan was costed and available online, but the MSG have not updated a workplan for 2018 onwards. Still, evidence suggests SLEITI does use workplans and APRs as planning and monitoring tools for EITI implementation.

Licenses and contracts

2.1Legal framework

The 2016 EITI Report describes and references most aspects of the legal framework and fiscal regime governing the mining and petroleum sectors. The does not fully delve into the contents or changes associated with reforms, but any gaps uncovered are minor and not significant for the sector during the period under review.

2.2License allocations

The 2016 EITI Report adequately describes that license allocations are made at the discretion of the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, although an assessment is provided by a Minerals Advisory Board. Their assessments of technical and financial criteria are not clear, nor whether there are deviations from license awards procedures.

2.3License register

Mining licenses of all material and non-material companies are accessible through an online repository, although it does not cover artisanal licenses. Based on a sample of entries all required information is described in the registry. A pilot cadastre is available via the Petroleum Directorate’s although it does not yet contain all required information.

2.4Policy on contract disclosure

Despite not having a general government policy on contract disclosure, the interpretation is that they should be transparent due to enabling provisions in sector-specific legislation. In addition, current reforms are underway demanding publication of mining contracts. So far, six agreements are accessible, as are their environmental impact assessments.

2.5Beneficial ownership

Not assessed

Although the Government of Sierra Leone does not yet have a policy in place for beneficial ownership disclosure, the commitments made by the current administration show promise for the future development of policies, laws and amendments related to beneficial ownership disclosure. One company, Koidu Limited, have published its beneficial owners.

2.6State participation

Although state participation is not related to upstream extractive sector activities, the MSG did not discuss definitions or applicability of this requirement. Evidence suggest that Sierra Rutile Limited repaid a significant loan in 2016 which was not covered in the report, constituting a significant gap in coverage of state loans to extractives companies.

Monitoring production

3.1Exploration data

The 2016 EITI Report provides a general overview of the country’s extractive industries, including significant exploration activities.

3.2Production data

Production data for large scale mining is available for 2016. However, production from artisanal and small-scale mining was not available, although official reporting of the Bank of Sierra Leone should include such information, as cited in previous reports. Given this weakness, the overall objective of the requirement has not been met.

3.3Export data

The 2016 EITI Report provides export volumes and values for all mineral commodities exported in 2016, disaggregated by subsector, companies and commodities. It is possible to estimate the location of exports based on data provided.

Revenue collection

4.1Comprehensiveness

The report provides full government disclosure disaggregated by revenue stream in the 2016 EITI Report. The key concern is the exclusion of capital gains taxes from the scope of reconciliations, without justification, although a large CGT payment did take place. Additionally, four companies did not report payments worth 26% of total government revenues from extractives.

4.2In-kind revenues

Not applicable

The 2016 Report confirms that no state-owned enterprise exists through which government receives in-kind revenues, nor does any private company provide revenues in kind.

4.3Barter agreements

There is no evidence to suggest that barter agreements or infrastructure provisions have been discussed. In fact, some stakeholders allude to the existence of such arrangements. In the absence of confirmation from companies and government that there are no such arrangements, information is insufficient to conclude that the requirement is not applicable.

4.4Transportation revenues

Not applicable

The report states that there were no transportation revenues in 2016. Payments uncovered during Validation revealed flat-fee revenues and not tariffs associated with transportation of commodities.

4.5SOE transactions

Not applicable

The report does clarify that there were no state-owned enterprises in the upstream extractive sector giving rise to revenues to the government.

4.6Direct subnational payments

Payments to subnational government entities are widely considered one of the main challenges in Sierra Leone. Evidence is often contradictory regarding oversight of subnational payments, and there are concerns surrounding the lack of public overview of all subnational payments. However, these views have not been well reflected in EITI Reports.

4.7Disaggregation

All reconciled financial data is disaggregated by company, revenue stream and government entity. The report does not provide evidence of project-level reporting, although this is not yet required under the EITI Standard. Still, evidence from third-party sources imply that much revenue information may already be available disaggregated by project.

4.8Data timeliness

Although online publication of the 2016 SLEITI Report was delayed to after the commencement of Validation, stakeholder consultation and other documentation implies that EITI data was available ahead of the two-year deadline.

4.9Data quality

SLEITI used the procedures approved by the EITI Board. The report clarifies the practice of reporting entity audits and which companies failed to adhere to agreed assurances, including the significance of their omissions. It does not assess the comprehensiveness of reconciled financial data and summary data was not completed by the commencement of Validation.

Revenue allocation

5.1Distribution of revenues

The report explains how revenues are recorded in the Consolidated Revenue Fund and thus in the national budget. The report is slightly unclear regarding the inclusion of a specific company’s surface rent payments, although these issues are covered under the assessment of direct subnational payments and subnational transfers (see Reqs 4.6 and 5.2).

5.2Subnational transfers

Koidu Limited’s surface rent payments, and a comparison between notional and actual transfers are available through the report. In addition, the report covers revenues transferred to the Diamond Area Community Development Fund for redistribution, and the statutory revenue-sharing formula. However, the value of executed DACDF transfers is missing.

5.3Revenue management and expenditures

Not assessed

This requirement is not considered for assessing progress towards the EITI Standard. It is nonetheless encouraging that the MSG has made some attempt to including information on the budget-making and auditing processes as well as providing information on the resource dependence of the Sierra Leonean economy.

Socio-economic contribution

6.1Mandatory social expenditures

The report does attempt to disclose mandatory social expenditures under Community Development Agreements. In the end only Sierra Minerals Holding No.1 Limited reported their transactions to a development fund. There is no explanation why the other seven companies did not report, and financial data is not reconciled.

6.2Quasi-fiscal expenditures

Not applicable

The International Secretariat’s initial assessment is that this requirement is not applicable in Sierra Leone in the year under review (2016). The 2016 EITI Report confirms the lack of extractives SOEs in Sierra Leone in 2016.

6.3Economic contribution

The report adequately describes the extractive industries’ contribution, in absolute and relative terms, to gross domestic product, exports, government revenues, employment as well as some information on the location of mining production.

Outcomes and impact

7.1Public debate

The 2015 and 2016 EITI Reports are written in clear English. Prior reports had been actively promoted and disseminated through public meetings, stimulating debate on extractives revenue management. However, there was a significant slowdown in dissemination and outreach; prior evidence of CSOs analysing data from EITI Reports, have slowed in recent years.

7.2Data accessibility

Not assessed

Sierra Leone has made data for EITI Reports up to 2016 available in open formats, using the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics (GFS) classification. The online repository, Minerals Cadastre Administration System, has been strengthened with data from the EITI reports while improving on data accessibility.

7.3Follow up on recommendations

The MSG, through their technical committee, have followed up on recommendations from past EITI Reports. The 2017 annual progress report documents progress on following up on past recommendations, and some reforms could be directly linked to EITI. There is evidence of MSG investigation of discrepancies, but it has reduced in recent years (2014-2016).

7.4Outcomes and impact of implementation

The 2017 annual progress report provides an overview of activities carried out in 2017 and an assessment of progress towards individual EITI Requirements. It documents the MSG’s responses and follow-up. It provides an assessment of progress made against the workplan objectives and the MSG’s assessment of impacts and outcomes of EITI implementation.

Countries
Sierra Leone