Tuesday 23 February - The EITI Board today approved the 2016 EITI Standard, coming into immediate effect. “This 2016 EITI Standard encourages countries to make use of existing reporting systems for EITI data collection and make the results transparent at source, rather than duplicating this exercise through EITI reporting. I am confident that this will make EITI data more timely, reliable and useful, and the EITI process more cost effective and efficient” said EITI Chair Clare Short.
Countries that have strong systems will now be able to mainstream transparency in government portals, webpages and systems rather than reproduce the data in EITI Reporting. This should make implementation more sustainable and increase government ownership. In these countries, EITI Reports will continue to play an important role in analysing and communicating the data to the wider public.
Identifying who owns the companies
The most groundbreaking aspect of the 2016 EITI Standard is that the identity of those that own and profit from extractive activities must now be disclosed. All countries must ensure that the companies that bid for, operate or invest in extractive projects declare who their beneficial owners are. The requirement will take effect as of 1 January 2020, giving countries some time to undertake the necessary preparations.
"Beneficial ownership information enables Nigerians to expose corruption and nepotism in the acquisition process. Besides asking companies to voluntarily disclose information on their ownership structure, including any politically exposed persons, going forward NEITI has also put into effect a mechanism that would enable it capture ownership of divested wells, licence-holders, leaseholders and companies bidding for extractive industry contracts. In short, beneficial ownership in the extractives sector in Nigeria begins to scratch where it itches", said the Nigeria EITI Secretariat about the new beneficial ownership requirements.
Enabling continuous progress
The EITI’s quality assurance mechanism, Validation, which checks whether countries are adhering to the EITI Requirements, has also been refined in the 2016 EITI Standard. Although the bar for achieving compliance has not changed, the assessment will to a greater extent take into account the diversity in implementing country membership, recognize efforts to go beyond the minimum requirements and incentivize continuous improvements in implementation.
Other changes to the EITI Standard includes a greater focus on ensuring that recommendations from EITI Reports are considered and followed up by governments and multi-stakeholder groups so that necessary reforms in sector management take place. The 2016 EITI Standard also include other minor revisions aimed at clarifying ambiguities and addressing inconsistencies.