Sierra Leone discloses mining revenues in first EITI report

On Thursday 25 March 2010 the President of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, launched Sierra Leone’s first EITI report that discloses all payments made from mining companies to the government for 2006 and 2007. At the launch of the first Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) report, President Koroma said that “the vision for the Sierra Leone EITI is to ensure that the natural resource wealth becomes an engine for sustainable development” and that “the revenues generated are utilized for the benefit and satisfaction of all Sierra Leoneans.”

In talking about how natural resources have affected many countries including Sierra Leone, the President said: "In extreme cases as it did in our recent past, access to such resources fuel and sustain conflicts thereby weakening governments and institutions. The global consensus therefore is that if governments manage these revenues transparently and efficiently, they could serve as a basis for successful economic growth and poverty reduction."

The first EITI report showed that mining companies reported having paid US$7.7mn in 2006 and US$10.6mn in 2007. Government entities have reported having received US$7.2mn in 2006 and US$10.2mn in 2007. The reconciler of the EITI report, Verdi consulting, states that unresolved discrepancies of US$0.4mn in 2006 and US$0.3mn in 2007 can largely be explained by government entities failing to report revenues or inability to substantiate payments reported by companies.

The EITI report contains a number of recommendations for how the resource revenue management in Sierra Leone should be improved over the next period to reduce the discrepancies. The recommendations include to centralise tax collection through the National Revenue Authority, to establish mandatory taxpayer identification numbers, and to make the rights agreements with the companies available.

In his speech at the launch, the President promised that “my government will do everything possible in ensuring that the issues contained in the Report are adequately addressed to the extent that it will plug off seepages”. The first EITI report covers the country’s mining sector, but the President said that “a scoping study of the oil sector will soon be undertaken so that it will form part of the subsequent EITI Reports”.

Further, he urged the stakeholders engaged in the EITI process to take steps to spread the word about the EITI report: “I therefore call on the Multi- Stakeholder Group to take adequate steps in ensuring that the Report is made accessible to everybody in a simple and clear language.”

The EITI report is available at the Sierra Leone EITI website. The speech held by President Koroma at the launch is available here.

For further information about EITI implementation in Sierra Leone, visit the Sierra Leone EITI website, the Sierra Leone page on the International EITI website, or contact Regional Director Eddie Rich at the EITI International Secretariat.