The EITI Board concluded that Senegal has achieved a very high score in EITI implementation. Despite challenges related to COVID-19, the country has used the EITI to strengthen extractives governance practices, inform public debate and shed light on Senegal’s legal framework.
Senegal’s extractive sector has evolved since it was last assessed against the EITI’s requirements in 2018. While still mainly dominated by mining activities, recent oil and gas discoveries have attracted investment and generated new revenue streams, increasing scrutiny on the governance of those assets.
“I commend EITI Senegal for maintaining a robust approach to EITI implementation, and for demonstrating that it is using the EITI as a platform to bring about reform and debate in the extractive sector,” said Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair. “There are opportunities to build on these efforts by improving the efficiency of license and contract awards and transfers in the country’s nascent oil and gas sector, and to use EITI reporting to inform public debate and planning for the energy transition.”
Transparency in day-to-day governance
Over the past three years, Senegal has increasingly made information on the sector available online. EITI Senegal (CN-ITIE) has contributed to improving government information management systems and inter-agency data exchange. Both the mining and more recently oil and gas sector now have registers that are accessible online to the public. Mining and oil and gas contracts are published via the EITI Senegal website, along with an overview of all contracts and their publication status. A dedicated data portal displays revenue and production data as recent as December 2019, and for the first time Senegal disaggregates this information by project. Most recently, two of the country’s state-owned enterprises – PETROSEN and MIFERSO – disclosed their financial statements (the latter via EITI Senegal, 2014 and 2019 only).
Inroads on ownership transparency
Senegal’s government collects, verifies and publishes information on the beneficial owners of companies via its commercial register, Seninfogreffe. The data points on beneficial owners are not publicly available and information can only be accessed upon demonstrating legitimate interest. EITI Senegal separately publishes beneficial ownership data for 22 extractive companies through its data website, which is available to the public. Making beneficial ownership data more widely available will enable public oversight over Senegal’s local content laws, which set the framework for employment of Senegalese nationals.
Contributing to reform
EITI implementation has driven several legal and institutional reforms, including amendments to environmental and public finance management laws related to the mining, oil and gas sector. EITI Senegal has also contributed to strengthening transparency provisions in the country’s mining and petroleum codes, namely on clarifying procedures for the award and transfer of licenses and tackling conflicts of interest. Senegal’s EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group has played an active role in providing input to government policies such as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and the local policy content act.
EITI reporting has shed light on outstanding payments due to be paid to subnational governments. The EITI followed up with relevant institutions to investigate and correct the missing transfers. Stakeholders emphasised a need for more specific information on how subnational transfers from mining revenues are invested to improve community livelihoods.
Informing debate on licensing and energy transition
While Senegal has made progress in improving transparency of license award and transfer procedures in the mining sector, work remains to strengthen oversight of oil and gas licenses, an area that has become a matter of public interest since allegations of improper licensing activities were made in 2019. A robust review of how petroleum licenses are allocated can help inform policy-making and public debate. Furthermore, the EITI could play a larger role in scrutinising the disbursements of environment mitigation mechanisms, a topic broadly considered as a key issue for local communities. Finally, stakeholders may wish to follow-up on the findings of the Validation report that several environmental mechanisms, such as the rehabilitation funds or the pollution tax, do not seem to be currently operational, and no contributions have been noted in 2019.