Clare Short: This is transparency for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago was designated as ‘compliant’ with the requirements of the EITI by the international Board on 23 January 2015. At Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Conference in Port of Spain on 27 January, Clare Short, Chair of the EITI Board congratulated the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its sustained commitment and leadership in the implementation of the EITI.
Clare Short, Chair of the EITI Board said:
“This is transparency for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. The point is to achieve a more effective management of resources, to gain public trust and ensure quality companies.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s EITI Reports have gone a step further than many countries by presenting information on revenues received from the extractive companies in clear and user-friendly summary reports. The EITI Reports also contain descriptions of the tax regime, operating areas and companies, explanations of the use of revenues including government expenditures and the “Heritage and Stabilization Fund”, the government’s different pricing mechanisms and subsidies, and information about its licensing and bidding rounds.
TTEITI communication efforts have reached wider audiences in the country. For example, the Youth Committees have allowed increased awareness and understanding about the extractive sector including how revenues are collected and distributed.
EITI compliance means that the country regularly publishes the government's revenues from natural resources and informs its citizens about how the country’s resources are being managed. To remain 'compliant' the country will need to meet additional disclosure requirements in the future.
Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine was elated at the news of compliance:
“Apart from providing key data, the EITI process in Trinidad and Tobago has provided an independent review of government revenue collection systems which will allow us to better monitor revenues from the sector. This transparency and accountability is even more pertinent given the current global climate of falling oil prices”.
Deryck Murray, Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute which is a member of the TTEITI Steering Committee that oversees EITI implementation, extended congratulations:
“We congratulate Victor Hart, Chairman, and the Steering Committee, and we recognize this as a major landmark in the quest for full transparency in the extractive industries as well as towards preserving the nation’s resources for the benefit of future generations.”
With regards to the future, he said: “The way forward requires that we take steps to institutionalise the new mechanisms and regime of a fully accountable system. The Transparency Institute remains committed to contributing to the establishment of a sound EITI, including raising public awareness and cementing a place for civil society in the process.”
Industry representative, Dr. Thackray Driver, CEO of the T&T Energy Chamber, which hosted the conference welcomed the news, noting the Chamber’s role in the country signing up for the EITI. Looking forward, he noted the role that the EITI could play in developing a stronger local content component:
“The Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago is delighted that Trinidad & Tobago is at last EITI compliant. We have been advocating for the country to become compliant for over ten years. At times we felt like a voice in the wilderness, so it is great that we have at last met this milestone.”
He continued: “We would like to see more deliberate policies introduced to encourage “local content” amongst the professional service providers to the EITI, such as the administrators, validators and the technical assistance and capacity building consultants. It would be great to see more consultants and service providers from South countries directly involved in the EITI.”
The Board’s decision in full:
The EITI Board designates Trinidad and Tobago as Compliant with the EITI Requirements as of 23 January 2015. In accordance with the EITI Standard:
- Trinidad and Tobago must be revalidated within three years i.e. Validation will commence on 1 January 2018 or earlier upon request of the MSG. Validation will be conducted in accordance with the EITI Standard.
- Stakeholders in the process may call for a new Validation at any time within that period if they think the process needs reviewing. Where valid concerns exist that a country has become compliant with the EITI requirements, but its implementation of the EITI has subsequently fallen below the required standard, the Board reserves the right to require the country to undergo a new Validation.
- In accordance with the EITI Standard, Trinidad and Tobago is expected to produce EITI Reports annually. EITI Reports should cover data no older than the second to last complete accounting period. Trinidad and Tobago is required to produce the FY 2013 EITI Report by 30 September 2015 in accordance with the EITI Standard.
- In accordance with Requirement 7.2, Trinidad and Tobago is required to publish an annual report on the previous year’s activities, detailing progress in implementing the EITI. The annual report for 2014 should be published by 1 July 2015.
The Board congratulates the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the TT-EITI Steering Committee for its efforts to achieve compliance with the EITI Requirements. In accordance with the transitional arrangements, Trinidad and Tobago is requested to transition to the EITI Standard as soon as possible, including ensuring timely EITI reporting in accordance with EITI Requirement 2.
The Board recommended that future reports provide a concise overview of how revenues from Exploration & Production (E&P) licenses and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) are accounted for by the Board of Inland Revenue Division (BOIR) and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (MEEA).
The Board tasks the EITI International Secretariat with providing regular updates to the Board on progress with implementing the Board’s recommendation.
- The EITI is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations. Learn more at www.eiti.org.
- EITI is chaired by the Rt. Hon. Clare Short. Ms Short was the UK Secretary of State for International Development (1997-2003).
- 48 countries are now implementing the EITI Standard, and recognised as either EITI compliant or EITI candidate. See the list of countries at www.eiti.org/countries.
- For further information about the EITI Trinidad and Tobago, please visit their website at www.tteiti.org.tt or their country page at eiti.org.