Conference to launch Tajikistan's EITI is underway.
The Government of Tajikistan today reaffirmed its commitment to implement the EITI. This took place at the EITI launch conference held in the capital Dushanbe. By implementing the EITI Standard, Tajikistan's citizens would be able to see how much their government receives from companies extracting their country's natural resources.
Shavkat Sahibov, Deputy Minister of Finance opened the conference stating that “this conference is the starting point of implementing EITI in Tajikistan, demonstrating the commitment to fight corruption and improve the relationship between the government, private sector and civil society. EITI will help us find the directions in the process of reforming our extractive sector, and help us attract investment.”
Zuhra Halimova, Executive Director of the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Tajikistan welcomed the government’s commitment, emphasizing that “EITI implementation will ensure stronger collaboration between the civil society, government and business sector. This collaboration will generate an impulse for greater transparency and accountability in the other sectors of Tajikistan economy”.
Transparency is critical for Tajikistan's future
While oil, gas and mining activity in Tajikistan is modest at present, the sector is expected to expand over the next years following, due to recent mineral discoveries are likely to significantly expand the extractive sector. By implementing the EITI at an early stage, the Government of Tajikistan would ensure that there is a framework in place for the transparent and accountable governance of these resources. Good management of these revenues will be critical for the future of a country in which 47% of the population live below the poverty line.
Companies have started to tap into the country’s oil, gas and mining resources with actors such as Gazprom, Manas Petroleum and Tethy’s Petroleum exploring and already producing modest amounts of oil and gas. There are over 400 known mineral deposits, including gold, silver, uranium, coal. Negotiations over the Konimansuri deposit, reportedly one of the largest of its kind in the world with an estimated reserve of 1 billion tons of silver ore, are expected to be finalized shortly. Konimansuri as well as other discoveries are likely to substantially increase revenues from the extractive sector in the coming years. Tajikistan also has abundant water resources. Taking inspiration from its neighbour Kyrgyzstan, Bakhadur Khabibov, representing the Consumer Union of Tajikistan, spoke about the potentials for applying the EITI Principles also to the hydropower sector.
President Rahmonov signed decree to implement EITI, fight corruption
On 31 August 2012, President Emomali Rahmonov signed Decree 449 [here translated to English] which commits Tajikistan to EITI implementation “for the purposes of improvement of the governance methods in the extractive industries, improvement of the investment climate in the country, strengthening fight against corruption, encouragement of the civil society to control the budgetary receipts from the activities connected with development of natural resources”. The EITI National Council, which will oversee implementation, held its first meeting on 13 September 2012. A coalition entitled ‘Transparency for Development’, comprising 21 civil society organisations has been established.
The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the World Bank, Open Society Institute and GIZ. Some 50 participants attended, including representatives from PWYP coalitions from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Ukraine.