Seychelles builds foundation for transparent revenue management of nascent petroleum sector

EITI Board assesses the island nation as having achieved “meaningful progress” against the EITI Standard.

The EITI Board decided on 1 October that the Seychelles has made “meaningful progress” overall in implementing the EITI Standard, following the conclusion of the Validation process – the EITI’s quality assurance process.

The Board recognises the commitment by the Government of Seychelles and the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) to good governance in its nascent oil sector and commends the government on the progress made in improving transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. The implementation of the EITI in the Seychelles is also contributing to increased collaboration between government agencies and is providing useful insight into developments in the petroleum sector.

“The Government of the Seychelles is clearly committed to good governance in its extractive and fisheries industries, and we encourage their efforts to introduce new transparency legislation,” said Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EITI. “The process has begun to build a platform for transparent revenue management, for if and when the country makes commercial petroleum discoveries.”

The Board welcomed the government’s ongoing efforts to improve government and company reporting through systematic disclosure rather than separate data collection. Stakeholders in the Seychelles and the MSG are also encouraged to adapt the EITI implementation to the country’s own needs. This could include seeking adapted implementation to ensure asking the EITI Board to just at focus on what is most relevant in a non-producing country.

Validation is an essential feature of the EITI process. It serves to assess performance and promote dialogue and learning at the country level. It also safeguards the integrity of the EITI by holding implementing countries to the same global standard. It is intended to provide all stakeholders with an impartial assessment of whether EITI implementation in a country is in line with the Standard. In addition, the Validation report seeks to identify the impact of the EITI in the country.

All EITI countries have a Validation deadline. When the EITI Board accepts a country as an implementing country, it establishes timelines for publishing the first EITI Report and undertaking a Validation. The Validation process is required to start within two and a half years of becoming an EITI implementing country. The Seychelles was admitted as an EITI candidate in August 2014. The EITI Board approved the Seychelles’ Validation to start on 1 January 2018.

The Seychelles has no petroleum production, but one company is currently undertaking exploration activities and others are collecting seismic data. The country, which comprises 115 islands spread over 1.4 million square kilometres in the Indian Ocean, also manages a joint petroleum zone with Mauritius, where exploration activities were recently initiated.

Stakeholders in the Seychelles are hopeful about the potential development of an oil and gas sector, although there are concerns regarding the impact petroleum mining could have on the marine ecology and other sectors such as tourism and fisheries. Currently, the revenue from the petroleum sector is small, but information on licenses and the process of allocating licenses is useful in developing transparent and accountable systems. According to the 2015 -16 EITI Report, revenues collected from the extractive industries contributed 0.16% of total government revenues in 2016. There were no petroleum revenues. Mineral commodities are produced in the Seychelles at a small scale, and include clay for bricks, crushed stone, granite dimension stone, salt and sand.