EITI Reports becoming more useful but need to be more timely

Thirty-one countries publish reports covering 2012.

By the close of December 2014, 31 countries had published EITI Reports covering the year 2012. Twenty-two countries published reports in line with the EITI Standard which aim to be more comprehensive, usable, and relevant to different contexts. In 2015, Ethiopia, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States are the countries expected to publish their first EITI Reports. 

Need for more timely data ...

Seven of the 22 countries that reported - Cameroon, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome, the Solomon Islands and Zambia – published reports containing 2013 data. While the EITI only required publication of 2012 data by end of 2014, the EITI Standard encourages data to be released as soon as practically possible.

For various reasons, eight countries did not publish their 2012 reports on time. The Central African Republic is presently suspended due to the crisis in the country, and the Board granted Sierra Leonean extension due to the Ebola crisis. Guatemala, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nigeria (oil and gas), Timor Leste and Yemen asked for more time to complete their reports.

The below chart indicates the timeliness of data. It shows the difference between the year the data in the report refers to, and the time the report was published. The trend in recent years towards more timeliness of EITI Reports has been halted by the complexities and challenges of transitioning to the Standard. It is hoped that the trend towards improved timeliness will resume for 2013 data, when most countries will be reporting in line with the Standard for the second time. 

… but reports are more useful

Whilst previous EITI Reports have mainly disclosed revenues from oil, gas and mining, the batch of recently published EITI Reports provides additional information on how the extractive sector is governed, including explanations of contractual regimes and licencing procedures, production data and revenue allocations, as required by the EITI Standard.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s report includes contextual information on licences, contracts, beneficial ownership, social payments, production and export. Of the 118 companies that were required to report, 12 companies did not disclose their beneficial owners, “the natural person” who owns the company. Forty companies (34% of companies required to report) disclosed the names of their beneficial owners for the first time, while 66 companies were listed in stock exchanges in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong or the United States. 

The latest Ghana reports covering 2012 and 2013 include a vast amount of information on how revenue is used. At least 30% of the oil and gas revenue should go into special petroleum funds whose performance, including their investment income, is assessed in the reports. Furthermore, the report scrutinises how much of the oil and gas expenditure goes to priority areas in the central government, and how the Ghana National Petroleum Company spends its revenue. 

In Iraq, where all natural resources belong to the state, the report outlines the various roles of its state-owned oil companies. In particular, it describes the process by which crude oil is sold to the 43 accredited buyers that, in 2012, purchased nearly 887 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq. Export sales of crude oil amounted to almost US $100 billion in 2012, making this the largest EITI Report yet in terms of revenue. For the first time Iraq has also published some information on its domestic oil sales and discussed the contribution of the sector to the economy, as well as included template contracts for sales, technical services and development and production services.

The Philippines’ report contains a wealth of contextual information, such as estimated reserves, policies on contract disclosure, ancestral lands and rehabilitation. Importantly, it not only captures this information in clear graphics, but also provides links to on-line instruments such as the ‘EITI Contracts Dashboard’ which provides access to around 40 mining and oil and gas contracts.

Reports published in line with the EITI Standard do not indicate compliance with the EITI Standard. The new Validation procedure will assess that. However, the reports do indicate a serious attempt to bring transparency to how these countries govern their natural resources across the whole value chain. 

How to find out more

Over the next few weeks, findings from each of the new reports will be published on the EITI website. The International Secretariat will seek to identify the key recommendations and issues from the reports and look for trends and patterns across countries to facilitate peer learning and best practice. The information will also be used to update and improve the EITI Guidance Notes. In particular, lessons will be drawn on efforts to include sales by state-owned companies, information on beneficial ownership, coverage of artisanal and small scale mining, as well as the inclusion of information on contract disclosure.

The reports themselves will be available on the EITI's data repository http://data.eiti.org. Efforts are underway this year to open up the EITI reports allowing deeper analysis and greater interoperability with other databases and macro-economic tools. Furthermore, each country’s own EITI website provides information on discussion, analysis, dissemination, recommendations and follow-up activity within the countries.