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Nouakchott, Mauritania

Mauritania

Status
Meaningful progress
Joined
27 September 2007
Latest validation
2020
Latest data from
2017
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Overview and role of the EITI

Mauritania’s economy is highly dependent on the extractive sector, which accounted for 66.8% of total exports and 24.2% of GDP in 2020. The country is a leading producer of iron ore, copper, gold, silver, oil and gas. Recent discoveries of offshore gas reserves have increased production forecasts. In 2018, Mauritania and Senegal reached a final investment decision with energy companies BP and Kosmos Energy for the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project, which is expected to generate USD 19 billion in government revenues over the next three decades.

Social conflicts have centred on mining workers’ rights, community relations and environmental impacts of extractive activities. In addition to EITI implementation, municipal councils have made efforts to improve outreach, dissemination and data collection since 2015.

Mauritania is using the EITI to support economic growth and strengthen the contribution of extractive revenues to development projects and poverty reduction. ITIE Mauritanie’s priorities include improving the systematic disclosure, accessibility and use of extractive sector data and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue on extractive sector governance.

Economic contribution of the extractive industries

16.9%
to government revenues
66.8%
to exports
24.2%
to GDP
7.39%
to employment
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Download country data

Download open data on government and company revenues, revenues by revenue stream and indicator, summary data and more.


Innovations and policy reforms

  • In 2019, the government issued a decree mandating the systematic disclosure of extractive sector data, which was drafted with the support of ITIE Mauritania. With the support of GIZ, ITIE Mauritanie subsequently established a data submission portal and “Data Warehouse”, which systematically consolidates all extractive sector data published by private companies and government. The government’s data portal also provides an overview of mining production. In 2021, Mauritania joined the EITI’s pilot project on systematic disclosure.
  • EITI implementation paved the way for the first audit of the sovereign petroleum fund (FNRH) and the publication of the two extractives state-owned enterprises’ (SNIM and SMHPM) audited financial statements. 

Against all odds, Mauritania has managed to cut its way to sustained and progressive transparency in order to achieve the overall objective of making mining a driver of social cohesion and sustainable development.

M. Djibi M. Sow Former Advisor to the Prime Minister and former CN-ITIE Chair

Extractive sector data

Production and exports

Iron

Revenue collection

Level of detail 2

Revenue distribution

2017
Standardised revenue types

Top paying companies

2017

Extractive sector management

Licenses and contracts

The Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy grants mining and oil licenses and manages the mining and petroleum cadastres. In 2019, the government established new mining cadastre.

The procedure for granting mining licenses is regulated by the Mining Code. While oil and gas exploration and production contracts are in principle concluded following a competitive bidding process in accordance with the Hydrocarbon Code, the current practice is to derogate from this rule and opt for direct negotiation. Due to the general nature of the Petroleum Code, most of the specific provisions governing petroleum exploration and production are included in production sharing contracts (PSCs).

The Ministry has published a note on the government's policy on oil contract disclosure and one on mining contract disclosure. Mining conventions signed with the mining operators are published in the Official Journal and on a government portal. Oil contract disclosure is not systematic but some are published on the ITIE Mauritanie website.

Beneficial ownership

Mauritania does not have a legal framework mandating the disclosure of beneficial ownership. In 2019, Mauritania conducted a study on beneficial ownership disclosure and urged mining and oil companies to disclose beneficial ownership data, however these efforts did not yield the expected results. Mauritania has started publishing some information on legal and beneficial owners through EITI Reports, however the data is not comprehensive.

Revenue distribution

Almost all extractive industry revenues flow to the Treasury and there is no legal framework for distribution revenues at the  subnational level. Municipalities receive only communal taxes such as estate tax, the patente fee and synthetic tax, which account for only a small share of revenues.

In 2015, ITIE Mauritanie conducted a study on social payments made by extractive companies, which provided recommendations how such payments could be managed to contribute to local development.


EITI implementation

Governance

ITIE Mauritanie is administered by the Mauritania Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), also known as the Comité national. The MSG is chaired by Mohamed Lemine Ahmedou, advisor to the Prime Minister. It is comprised of representatives from government, industry and civil society.

Timeline

Validation

Mauritania was found to have made meaningful progress with considerable improvements in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard in October 2020, following its third Validation. Mauritania has fully addressed the four corrective actions identified in its previous Validation. The next Validation is expected to commence in January 2024.

Scorecard

Latest Validation: 15 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 of Mauritania has made regular public statements of support for the EITI and a senior advisor to the Prime Minister leads day-to-day EITI implementation, with the authority and freedom to coordinate actions related to the EITI across relevant ministries and mobilise funding. High-level government officials participate in MSG meetings, government agencies participate in EITI reporting and the Ministry of Finance uses EITI Reports to monitor budget implementation.

1.2Industry engagement

Companies are actively engaged in the design and implementation of the EITI, which has benefited from high-level participation from oil and gas companies in particular. There are no legal obstacles preventing company participation in the EITI process, with the Mining and Petroleum Codes providing an enabling environment for company participation in the EITI. However, companies could play a greater role in EITI dissemination and outreach to local communities.

1.3Civil society engagement

Civil society are somewhat engaged in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the EITI process. Participation of civil society representatives in the MSG has been uneven, due to capacity constraints that civil society has recognised and is addressing through its own code of conduct. There is an enabling environment for civil society participation in the EITI.

1.4MSG governance

The civil society constituency has agreed on criteria and procedures for the nomination of their representatives on the MSG, which are public and confirm the right of each constituency to appoint its own representatives. The industry constituency has agreed on eligibility criteria for their representation on the MSG, however there appears to be no clear selection procedures for industry representatives on the MSG. While these ad-hoc procedures do not have a negative impact on industry participation at this stage, it could be an issue in the future.

1.5Work plan

The 2020 work plan includes a mapping of EITI contributions to the economic growth strategy (the SCAPP), which is a national proprity. The work plan also includes a monitoring and evaluation framework to montior EITI's impact in Mauritania.

Licenses and contracts

2.1Legal framework

The 2014 EITI Report describes the legal framework and fiscal regime governing the extractive industries, including the lack of fiscal devolution, an overview of the relevant laws and regulations, and information on the roles and responsibilities of the relevant government agencies. However, it appears that a number of reforms undertaken in 2013 and 2014 appear to be missing from the EITI Reports covering those respective years.

2.2License allocations

The Oil Directorate (DGH) published a note on their website explaining the license awarding process and criteria for oil companies under the existing practice. The note clarifies that the country only enters direct negotiation with the oil and gas majors and as such, does not evaluate technical and financial criteria in license allocation. All licenses awarded during the period under review (2017) were direct negotiation with major IoCs and as such technical and financial criteria were waived.

2.3License register

To address the lack of complete coordinates (Requirement #2.3.b.iii)) the DGH published (on 12 May 2020) two documents containing the coordinates of all blocks that hold licenses in 2017. The list of coordinates is complete, even though it is not entirely accurate

2.4Policy on contract disclosure

Through the 2015 EITI Report and the notes published subsequently by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbon, the MSG has documented the government’s policy on disclosure of contracts and licenses that govern the exploration and production of oil, gas and minerals.

2.5Beneficial ownership

While the MSG has many necessary steps for the disclosure of beneficial owners, not all of the initial criteria for the assessment of beneficial ownership were met. For only 21 of the 57 companies that held a license in the year under review the legal owners were published. Beneficial ownership and legal ownership information was requested for all companies holding a license, but not requesting a license, because of the lack of a legal basis to do so. The mining code is under reform and will address that.

2.6State participation

In accordance with Requirement 2.6, the 2017 EITI Report and subsequent addendums confirm the materiality of two SOEs in the extractives, SMHPM and SNIM. They described the statutory financial relations between SNIM, SMHPM and the government in terms of dividends, retained earnings, reinvestments and third-party funding. The financial relations between the two SOEs and the government in practice in 2017 are detailed. The report lists the state participations in the extractive industries, including information on SNIM subsidiaries. The report describes the terms associated with the state’s free carried equity in mining companies and the terms associated with state participation and equity in oil, gas and mining companies. The report notes the existence of a sovereign guarantee on a third-party loan to SNIM, and subsequent documentation provides details of the terms of the loan guarantee (e.g. interest rate, tenor).

Monitoring production

3.1Exploration data

The 2014 EITI Report includes a detailed description of the extractive industries and of significant exploration activities. There does not appear to be significant informal activities in the extractive industries in 2014.

3.2Production data

The 2014 EITI Report provides production volumes and values for all of Mauritania’s mineral and oil production, disaggregated by commodity.

3.3Export data

The 2014 EITI Report provides export volumes and values for all of Mauritania’s exported mineral and oil commodities, disaggregated by commodity.

Revenue collection

4.1Comprehensiveness

The 2015 EITI Report provides, for both oil and gas and mining, 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 these levels. The MSG was involved in setting the materiality thresholds for payments and for companies. The materiality of omissions from non-reporting companies is assessed and considered not to affect the comprehensiveness of the reconciliation. Full unilateral government disclosures of material revenues, including from non-material companies, was provided.

4.2In-kind revenues

The 2014 EITI Report confirmed the materiality of in-kind revenue in the oil and gas sector and disclosed volumes collected and sold as well as proceeds of sales. While it did not explicitly state that the state did not collect in-kind revenues in the mining sector, it provided a diagram of revenue flows that did not specify any in-kind revenues.

4.3Barter agreements

Not applicable

The MSG has considered the existence of barter and infrastructure agreements and concluded that this requirement was not applicable to Mauritania in 2014.

4.4Transportation revenues

Not applicable

The MSG has considered the existence of transport revenues and concluded this requirement was not applicable to Mauritania in 2014.

4.5SOE transactions

The 2014 EITI Report describes the role of SOEs operating in Mauritania and comprehensively disclosed and reconciled statutory financial transfers between SOEs and the government. While the 2014 EITI Report does not refer to any ad-hoc transfers from SOEs to the government in 2014, we understand that there were no such ad-hoc transfers in 2014.

4.6Direct subnational payments

Not applicable

The 2014 EITI Report incorrectly categorises three types of payments as direct subnational payments, as these payments were paid to the central government and earmarked for transfer to specific communes.

4.7Disaggregation

All reconciled financial data in the 2014 EITI Report was presented disaggregated by company, revenue stream and receiving government entity, although government unilateral disclosures were only disaggregated by company not by revenue streams.

4.8Data timeliness

Mauritania published its 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 EITI Reports within two years of the start of the fiscal year under review.

4.9Data quality

In accordance with Requirement 4.9, the reconciliation of payments and revenues has been undertaken by an IA, appointed by the MSG, and applying international professional standards. The report includes an informative summary of the work performed by the IA and the limitations of the assessments provided. The report includes follow up on recommendations from past EITI Reports and Validation, as well as a set of new recommendations. Summary data tables have been published for the 2015 EITI Report.

Revenue allocation

5.1Distribution of revenues

The 2015 EITI Report highlights the extractives revenue streams that are not recorded in the national budget and provides a general description of the management of these funds. Mauritania EITI has subsequently published an addendum from the FNRH with the fund’s general statutory asset allocation guidelines and the Cour des Comptes’ report on the FNRH as part of the 2015 budget execution report, which raises concerns over the lack of a clear asset allocation policy from the Ministry of Finance but adequately describes the allocation of FNRH assets in 2015.

5.2Subnational transfers

Not applicable

Despite ambiguities in the 2015 EITI Report regarding the existence of statutory subnational transfers, the MSG has followed up with relevant government entities and published addendums, including from the central bank, confirming the lack of subnational transfers in Mauritania.

5.3Revenue management and expenditures

Not assessed

The 2014 EITI Report provided limited information on earmarked revenues.

Socio-economic contribution

6.1Mandatory social expenditures

Not applicable

Although not explicitly stated in the 2014 EITI Report, we understand that mandatory social expenditures were not material in the mining, oil and gas sectors in 2014. The MSG has made efforts to include companies’ unilateral disclosures of voluntary social expenditures in the 2013 and 2014 EITI Reports.

6.2Quasi-fiscal expenditures

There is evidence that the MSG has considered quasi-fiscal expenditures since the second Validation. The 2017 EITI Report includes information on the outstanding sums, the conditions and calendar for repayment for quasi-fiscal expenditures by SNIM linked to the acquisition of biomedical equipment for the National Hepato-Virology Institute of Nouakchott and financing of production of fishing boats by COMECA. SNIM has subsequently published these conventions as well as the convention for the construction of the Nouakchott airport by NAJAH. Information on the outstanding sum and actual amounts disbursed on quasi-fiscal expenditures to NAJAH were subsequently published on the EITI-Mauritania website.

6.3Economic contribution

The 2014 EITI Report provided, in absolute and relative terms, the size of the extractive industries, their contribution to government revenue, exports and employment.

Outcomes and impact

7.1Public debate

The MSG has sought to ensure that EITI Reports are accessible and contribute to public debate. Dissemination activities involving civil society groups, parliamentarians and the media appear to be effective in stimulating an informed debate about the management of the extractive sector within the capital. Dissemination of the findings in EITI reports and follow-up on the recommendations by the relevant government agencies has also given the EITI new momentum. However, accessibility of EITI data beyond Nouakchott remains weak. Stakeholders affected by mining activities in rural areas appear to be rarely reached by dissemination of EITI information and their voices are rarely heard at the central level, where all decisions about the sector are made.

7.2Data accessibility

Not assessed

Mauritania’s EITI data is available in machine readable format on the EITI global website, drawing on summary data tables completed by the national secretariat. However, these are not published on the EITI Mauritania website.

7.3Follow up on recommendations

The MSG and the government have taken steps to act upon lessons learnt, to identify, investigate and address the causes of any discrepancies and weaknesses of the EITI process and to consider the recommendations for improvements from the Independent Administrator, even if these are not consistently fully implemented.

7.4Outcomes and impact of implementation

Through the efforts throughout the year to strengthen the monitoring of EITI implementation as well as the publication of an impact assessment, Mauritania has taken important steps to draw lessons from its assessment of outcomes and impact of EITI implementation. The Annual Progress Reports and the impact evaluation sufficiently address the gaps from second Validation.


Key documents


Contacts