Progress delayed by challenges of confidentiality agreements.
The EITI Board suspended Timor-Leste for failing to publish an EITI Report by 31 December 2016. The suspension will take effect immediately.
In taking this decision, the Board recognised the Government’s consistent commitment to the EITI. However, the publication of the 2014 EITI Report was delayed by prolonged discussions by stakeholders on reporting procedures and confidentiality agreements between the Independent Administrator and the companies. The companies’ insistence on their prior approval of draft reports before government and civil society may review the data has repeatedly slowed down Timor Leste’s EITI reporting process. The country has been struggling with issues related to confidentiality agreement since 2014. While companies explained that their objective was to ensure the accuracy of disclosed data, the Board noted that the cause for the delay was not outside the multi-stakholder group’s control.
Transparency is high on the agenda of Timor Leste’s government. Agencies overseeing the oil sector are already routinely disclosing revenue, production, and export figures from extractive companies. The government maintains a transparency portal with up-to-date information on the national budget. The recent country Validation highlighted the opportunities for Timor Leste to embed transparency in its government systems. The recurring challenges causing the delayed publication of its EITI Report underscore the need for EITI in Timor Leste to consider a more systematic approach to reporting.
In accordance with the EITI Standard, the suspension will be lifted if Timor Leste is able to publish an EITI Report by 30 June 2017. If the EITI Report is not published by then, the suspension will remain in force until the EITI Board is satisfied that the next report covering fiscal year 2015 is published by the end of 2017.