UK launches EITI process

The UK Government yesterday, 9 July 2013, launched their EITI process.  Over 100 representatives of businesses and NGOs working in the mining, oil and gas industry in the UK met with government officials.

The EITI, which was set up to increase transparency, aims to improve the way revenues from oil, gas and minerals are managed to ensure that people across the world share in the economic benefits of the natural resources in their country.

Business Minister and UK EITI Champion, Jo Swinson, committed to working closely with industry and civil society to implement the EITI in the UK. In her keynote speech the Minister announced the formation of a stakeholder group with representatives nominated by the CBI, Oil & Gas UK and civil society organisations, to guide the EITI process in the UK.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said:

“Oil, gas and mining can, if well managed, deliver precious economic benefits to the populations of developing countries. Too often the assets from resource-rich countries in the developing world are not benefitting local people. At the G8 summit last month, more and more countries across the world recognised how vital transparency and accountability are in these industries.

“Today’s commitment by industry and NGOs to work together is a big step. This will result in greater transparency, help build a stronger economy and means that people around the world benefit fairly from the natural resources of the countries in which they live.”

EITI Chair, Clare Short, and EITI Deputy Head, Eddie Rich, joined Jo Swinson on the panel to welcome the UK’s launch.  The launch event followed the announcement by the Prime Minister in May that the UK intended to sign up to the EITI.

Clare Short said “Make it work for the UK, make it useful and think of doing it in a way which will be useful to other countries to use the EITI more creatively and more meaningfully”.

“And get onto the meat, don’t fiddle around forever consulting over who is going to be on the multi-stakeholder group” she added.

Publish What You Pay International Director Marinke van Riet said:

“Publish What You Pay welcomes the UK government’s decision to become an EITI member and to be more publicly accountable to UK citizens for its stewardship of our country’s non-renewable natural resources.

“We look forward to a meaningful UK process under the EITI’s recently strengthened transparency rules, which apply equally to developed and developing countries. The EITI usefully complements oil, gas and mining companies’ country and project-level reporting of payments to governments that US and EU law now require, which is becoming the new global standard.”

Oil & Gas UK’s economics and commercial director Mike Tholen said:

“The UK offshore oil and gas industry pays many billions of pounds a year in direct taxes on production. Oil & Gas UK will be co-ordinating engagement on the UK’s implementation of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative on behalf of the UK offshore oil and gas industry and will seek to ensure the benefits of EITI are achieved in the most cost effective way.”

Under the EITI, extractives companies operating in the UK would report material payments to the UK government, totalling billions of pounds, who will also report the receipts it received. The payments of tax, licence fees and other receipts will be disclosed in reports conforming to the EITI standards.