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Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Status
Suspended due to political instability
Joined
10 February 2010
Latest validation
2020
Latest data from
2019
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Overview and role of the EITI

Afghanistan is endowed with a wealth of natural resources and has extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, marble, gold, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulphur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt and precious and semi-precious stones. The extractive sector has the potential to be a significant source of government revenues and economic development.

However, Afghanistan’s fragile political context has hampered the government’s ability to manage and enforce revenue collection in accordance with laws and regulations. Building on earlier efforts, former President Ashraf Ghani announced reforms specific to the extractive sector as part of a wider anti-corruption package in May 2016. These included tangible commitments to the EITI, including in areas of systematic disclosures of extractives data and beneficial ownership.

Afghanistan’s former government implemented the EITI with the objective of improving the transparency and accountability of the extractive regulatory framework and empowering public debate on the management of the country's natural resources.

Implementation of EITI recommendations has led to concrete improvements in Afghanistan’s government systems, including the launch of a cadastral and non-tax revenue transparency portal. The government also used the EITI platform to shed light on the management of state-owned enterprises, beneficial ownership and small-scale mining.

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Innovations and policy reforms

  • Afghanistan’s former government strengthened systematic disclosures on its dedicated Transparency Portal, which was first launched in 2018 to disclose data on licenses, fiscal terms and non-tax revenues. Since then, the portal was expanded to include production volumes, contracts, and company and license ownership. The country began publishing ownership data on its Transparency Portal in 2020. 
  • In early 2020, the two state-owned enterprises, Afghan Gas and North Coal Enterprises, published their financial statements that had been audited for the first time. 
  • Afghanistan participated in the EITI's global pilot on alternative approaches to EITI reporting. Its 2018-2019 EITI Report analyses 12 years of AEITI data (2008-2019) and addresses key issues such as the correlation of production and royalty payments, of SOE profits with their payments to government, and comparisons of projected and actual extractive revenues over time.

Every citizen has the right to know who is developing the country’s natural resources and how the government is managing the revenues from these industries on their behalf. The EITI is one of the tools that is helping us achieve this policy objective. It has been instrumental in supporting our institution-building efforts in a sector critical to the economic future of Afghanistan.

Ashraf Ghani Former President

Extractive sector data

Production and exports

Coal

Revenue collection

Level of detail 2

Revenue distribution

2019
Standardised revenue types

Top paying companies

2019

Extractives sector management

Licenses and contracts

The licensing regime moved from a contract-based system under the 2014 Mining Law (in which the MoMP negotiated the terms of each mining contract separately) to a concession-based licensing system under the 2018 Minerals Law (in which standard model agreements reduce the need for lengthy negotiations).

Mining regulations stipulate that bidding announcements be published on the government website, national and international press and media in Dari, Pashto and English. In 2018, the MoMP launched the Afghanistan Transparency Portal, which includes an online cadastral system and disclosure of non-tax payments on a per-license basis. 

All contracts should by law be published and be made available online. Mining, oil and gas contracts have been published on the MoMP website. Some contracts are also published on the Resource Contracts portal.

Beneficial ownership

Afghanistan does not have a legal framework mandating the disclosure of beneficial ownership information. Afghanistan EITI requested companies to report their legal and beneficial owners, listing individually any person or entity holding 10% or more of the shares. The MoMP Transparency Portal discloses legal and beneficial ownership information of companies holding mining, oil and gas contracts. 

Revenue distribution

The 2014 Mining Law and 2018 Minerals Law establish provisions on subnational transfers of a share of mining revenues to provinces hosting extractive activities, however these were not yet implemented as of March 2021. No provisions exist for subnational revenue-sharing in the oil and gas sector.

The 2014 Mining Law (Article 84) mandated that the Ministry of Finance allocate, in addition to its national budget allocation, 5% of the overall revenue from a mine (including royalties, surface rents, fees and penalties) to a Provincial Development Fund (PDFs) where the mine is located. However, this provision was never implemented due to concerns around weak capacity of provincial authorities and difficulties in determining overall revenue.


EITI implementation

Governance

Afghanistan EITI (AEITI) was formerly administered by the Afghanistan Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG). The MSG was hosted by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and chaired by the former Minister of Mines and Petroleum.

In 2021, Afghanistan was suspended from the EITI due to political instability.

Validation

Afghanistan was found to have made meaningful progress implementing the 2019 EITI Standard, following its second Validation in October 2020. The country had fully addressed 14 of the 19 corrective actions identified in its previous Validation.

Scorecard

Latest Validation: 28 October 2020
Year

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

The government continues to make high-level commitment to EITI and provides effective operational oversight of EITI implementation. Government representation in EITI implementation has become more balanced. Officials have been effectively engaged in all aspects of implementation in the 2018-2020 period.

1.2Industry engagement

Industry representatives are actively engaged in the EITI process. There are clear legal provisions requiring EITI reporting for all license-holders, contractors and relevant government agencies, that enable the largest extractive taxpayers to report. Low capacity remains a challenge.

1.3Civil society engagement

Despite the security situation, civil society is actively and effectively engaged in implementing, monitoring and evaluating the EITI process. Civil society participated in high-level policy discussion on the development of the sector, influenced reform agendas and participated in round-tables discussions with senior government officials.

1.4MSG governance

While the statutory procedures for civil society and industry nominations to the MSG agreed in 2020 appear to ensure that the nominations processes would be open and transparent, delays in the two constituencies’ election procedures have meant that these nominations procedures have yet to be implemented in practice. Nonetheless, civil society members of the MSG appear to have been operationally and in policy terms independent from government and companies in the period under review. Information on nominations procedures is publicly available. The MSG’s ToR addresses all aspects of Requirement 1.4.b, including with regards to gender diversity, and stakeholders have not highlighted any significant deviations from the ToR in practice. Meetings are convened with sufficient advance warning and MSG members generally appear to have sufficient time to review documents ahead of meetings. Attendance of most MSG members appears to have been broadly consistent in the 2018-2020 period. However, outreach to the respective constituencies and EITI dissemination activities appear to have been driven primarily by the AEITI Secretariat during the period under review.

1.5Work plan

Afghanistan’s 2020 EITI work plan is publicly accessible, produced in a timely manner and updated annually, with objectives aligned with national priorities. The work plan includes measurable and time-bound activities that are fully costed with associated funding sources. It comprises specific activities to follow up on recommendations from EITI reporting and Validation and to extend the scope of EITI implementation, including with regards to systematic disclosures. It includes activities related to gender-disaggregated data and gender considerations in stakeholder engagement, outreach and dissemination. The three constituencies appear to have consulted their broader constituencies in preparing annual work plan.

Licenses and contracts

2.1Legal framework

The 2014-2015 Afghanistan EITI Report provides information regarding the legal and fiscal framework governing the extractive sector, including recent reforms to the minerals law.

2.2Contract and license allocations

Since the first Validation, Afghanistan has launched an online cadastral management system (MCAS), which now handles license award and transfer applications and provides a public user interface. The 6th AEITI Report addendum published in May 2020 provided the accurate figure of 120 small-scale mining license awards for construction materials. Public documents confirm the lack of new oil and gas license awards and of mining, oil and gas license transfers in 2016-17. The EITI Report and its addendum provide an overview of the process for awarding and transferring licenses in the mining, oil and gas sectors. The 2019 Mining Regulations and 2017 Hydrocarbons Law effectively define the technical and financial criteria assessed for mining, oil and gas license awards and mining license transfers. The report provides an overview of the identity of companies receiving and its addendum confirms the lack of non-trivial deviations in these awards, based on a risk-based performance audit of a sample of the mining license awards in 2016-17. The addendum confirms the lack of license awards through competitive bidding in this period. The MOMP published a note subsequent to the start of Validation providing the list of documents that applicants had to submit under the 2014 Minerals Law, and confirmed that technical and financial criteria were now clearly described in the 2018 Minerals Law and the 2019 Mining Regulations.

2.3Register of licenses

The MOMP Transparency Portal, launched in November 2018, provides all information listed under Requirement 2.3.b for all mining, oil and gas licenses, including both active and non-active licenses. Afghanistan has made efforts to go beyond the minimum required by focusing on the accessibility of license and associated information, including in on a per-license basis information on license data, beneficial ownership information, fiscal terms, production volumes and non-tax payments to MOMP.

2.4Contracts

2.5Beneficial ownership

This assessment was under Phase 1 of the beneficial ownership Validation framework. AEITI has agreed appropriate definitions for the terms “beneficial owner” and “politically exposed person” (PEP), even if there are inconsistencies across different national legislation, and requested data from extractive companies making material payments in 2016-17 as well as of all companies applying or bidding for mining licenses since January 2020. The 2018 Minerals Law sets a threshold of 5% ownership for reporting beneficial ownership. The MSG also agreed assurances that reporting companies were requested to provide. As of May 2020, a total of 127 mining companies had published details of their beneficial ownership information. The MSG has undertaken a review and cursory assessment of the beneficial ownership disclosures to date. Information on legal owners of extractive companies is publicly accessible through the Transparency Portal.

2.6State participation

Both EITI reporting and reports published on the MOMP website’s SOE transparency section demonstrate the materiality of AFE and NCE and provide comprehensive information on the rules and practices related to the financial relations between the two SOEs and the government. EITI implementation led to the first-ever audit of the two SOEs’ financial statements by the SAO and their publication on the MOMP website. The EITI Report provides evidence of NCE’s outstanding loans to AGE and several domestic cement producers. The report provides the repayments and outstanding value of the loans in each year, with confirmation that the interest rate is zero. While the maturity and repayment modalities for NCE’s loans are not provided in AEITI reporting, stakeholders explained that it was not customary to set maturities and repayment modalities for such loans. Afghanistan has also made efforts to disclose information on the two SOEs’ corporate governance and corporatisation plans.

Monitoring production

3.1Exploration data

The 2014-2015 EITI Report provides an overview of the extractive industries, including significant exploration and informal activities.

3.2Production data

Both the MOMP website and the Transparency Portal provide production volumes and values for each extractive commodity produced in 2016-17, as well as more recent data up to 2020, disaggregated by company and license/contract. This production data is thus disaggregated by location. There are significant stakeholder concerns (from all constituencies) over the reliability of official extractives production data, while the official government statistics cover formalised mining activity under licensed areas.

3.3Export data

Afghanistan’s Customs Department now systematically discloses export volumes and values for each mineral commodity exported for the 2016-2019 period. While confirming the lack of oil and gas exports in 2016-17, Afghanistan’s most recent EITI reporting has also provided more granular information on mineral exports for companies in the scope of the EITI Report, providing information on export destinations and relevant customs offices. Stakeholders from all constituencies have expressed concerns over the reliability of official mineral export data.

Revenue collection

4.1Comprehensiveness

The 2016-17 EITI Report includes a definition of the materiality thresholds for payments and companies to be included in reconciliation, including a justification for why the thresholds were set at the agreed levels. The MSG was involved in setting the materiality threshold for payments and for companies. All material companies and government entities reported comprehensively all material payments and revenues in the 2016-17 EITI Report and full unilateral government disclosure of extractive revenues was provided. The EITI Report includes the IA’s assessment that reconciled financial data is comprehensive. The two extractive SOEs published their audited financial statements for the first time, although other extractive companies have not.

4.2In-kind revenues

Not applicable

This requirement is not applicable in Afghanistan.

4.3Infrastructure provisions and barter arrangements

4.4Transportation revenues

Not applicable

The 2016-17 EITI Report and its addendum confirm the lack of government revenues from the transportation of extractive commodities.

4.5SOE transactions

The 2016-17 EITI Report and the two extractive SOEs’ financial statements published online demonstrate the materiality of the two SOEs, Afghan Gas Enterprise and North Coal Enterprise. While the report confirms the lack of company payments to the two SOEs and the lack of AGE dividend payments to government, the significant dividend payments from NCE to the Ministry of Finance are only unilaterally disclosed by the MoF, not reconciled with NCE disclosures. There is no evidence of any other ad hoc payments from the SOEs to government, nor of government transfers to the two SOEs in the period under review.

4.6Subnational payments

4.7Level of disaggregation

4.8Data timeliness

The 2014-15 EITI Report was published within extended deadline agreed by the EITI Board.

4.9Data quality and assurance

The reconciliation of payments and revenues has been undertaken by an IA, appointed by the MSG, and applying international professional standards. The MSG agreed ToR for the production of the 2016-17 EITI Report consistent with the standard ToR and agreed upon procedures issued by the EITI Board, and applied these ToR and procedures in practice. The approach to data reliability is focused on more robust assurances from government than from companies. The final report provides a clear statement from the IA on the comprehensiveness and reliability of the reconciled financial data, alongside an informative summary of the work performed by the IA, the limitations of the assessment provided, and the final reconciliation coverage.

Revenue allocation

5.1Distribution of revenues

Afghanistan’s EITI reporting has confirmed that all extractive revenues are transferred to the single Treasury account. There is some publicly-available budget information on government websites (Directorate General of Budget and Supreme Audit Office). However, review of NCE’s financial statements reveal a large discrepancy in the value of its dividend (net profit to the MoF) compared to figures reported by the MoF in the EITI Report.

5.2Subnational transfers

Not applicable

The 2014-15 EITI Report describes the statutory provisions for subnational transfers of mining revenues and explains the MSG’s assessment that the requirement was not applicable given the lack of implementation of the legal provisions to date.

5.3Revenue management and expenditures

Not assessed

The MSG made modest efforts to include some information on the government accounting process.

Socio-economic contribution

6.1Social and environmental expenditures

Afghanistan’s 2016-17 EITI Report describes mandatory social expenditures in both mining and oil and gas and discloses them for three of the material companies. However, the MOMP published a review of material companies’ mandatory social expenditures in early 2020, which provides a comprehensive review of contractual social expenditure requirements in material companies’ operating contracts and discloses their mandatory social expenditures based on reports to MOMP provincial offices. The information provided includes disaggregation between cash and in-kind, deemed value and the identity of non-government beneficiaries for some, but not all, mandatory social expenditures. The report describes environmental payments to government, although the MSG’s approach to materiality means that these were not included in the scope of disclosures.

6.2SOE quasi-fiscal expenditures

While the MSG has agreed a definition of quasi-fiscal expenditures and considered some forms of quasi-fiscal expenditures, it has not yet undertaken a comprehensive review of all possible types of quasi-fiscal expenditures. The 2016-17 EITI Report and addendum describe the MSG’s definition of quasi-fiscal expenditures. While the report and its addendum provide some coverage of SOEs’ quasi-fiscal expenditures in 2016-17, they do not provide disclosures to levels of disaggregation commensurate with other payments and revenues. After the start of Validation the MSG published a note with calculations of the value of quasi-fiscal expenditures for two of the three types of activities it considered quasi-fiscal in 1395-1396.

6.3Contribution of the extractive sector to the economy

The 2016-17 EITI Report and its addendum provide, in absolute and relative terms, the extractives industries’ contribution to GDP, government revenues, exports and employment, albeit not disaggregated by gender. The MOMP provides granular information on extractives licenses in a map-based user interface. Gender-disaggregated employment data does not appear to be publicly available for the extractive industries. Nonetheless, the MSG has included plans to publish gender-disaggregated data in line with the AEITI’s 2020 work plan and gender policy. The MOMP has published some information on estimates of illegal mining on its website, alongside the government’s strategy for formalisation of artisanal and small-scale mining.

6.4Environmental impact

Not assessed

Implementing countries are not required to address environmental impact and progress with this requirement does not have any implications for a country’s EITI status. It is encouraging that Afghanistan has made efforts to disclose aspects of environmental laws, regulations and procedures.

Outcomes and impact

7.1Public debate

EITI data is accessible in a range of both digital and paper-based communications materials have been produced and disseminated. The AEITI Secretariat has led many outreach and dissemination events in the capital city and key mining regions, within broader security and logistical constraints. The relative disengagement of MSG members from outreach and dissemination activities has however led to limitations in the impact of the EITI to date. Stakeholders from different constituencies expressed concern at the lack of translation of some systematic disclosure, such as the Transparency Portal, into local languages.

7.2Data accessibility and open data

Afghanistan has agreed an Open Data Policy in accordance with Requirement 7.2.a and has made data available in an open data format online, publicising its availability. Government agencies have started publishing some data in an open format, even if company systematic disclosures lag behind. Summary data files have been prepared for each fiscal year covered by the EITI in accordance with the template approved by the EITI Board.

7.3Follow up on recommendations

Afghanistan has made progress in implementing recommendations made in EITI Reports, even if there remains concern from some civil society stakeholders over the repetition of similar recommendations in successive EITI Reports. There is clear evidence of consistent follow-up on recommendations particularly since the publication of the latest EITI Report in June 2019. The MSG has taken steps to act upon lessons learned and monitoring progress with the implementation of recommendations from EITI reporting and Validation. Together with the IA and through a dedicated technical working group, efforts have been made to identify, investigate and address the causes of discrepancies in EITI reporting.

7.4Review of outcomes and impact of implementation

The 2019 annual progress report, combined with the 6th AEITI Report addendum, provide coverage of all aspects of Requirement 7.4 including reviewing outcomes and impacts of EITI implementation to date. Adequate opportunities appear to have been provided for different stakeholders to provide input. Both the annual progress report and the addendum provide an anecdotal review of the impact of EITI implementation.


Key documents


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