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President Ghani puts mining reform at heart of the government’s anti-corruption efforts

At a major address opening the annual EU Anti-Corruption Conference, President Ashraf Ghani offered an in-depth analysis of the causes of corruption in Afghanistan and the reforms initiated by his government to address the endemic corruption.

A key topic of discussion at the conference was how to address corruption in the mining sector, and in particular how to turn high-level political support for reforms into action.  «Anything that can be turned into a concrete agenda to conduct much needed reforms, we will welcome», said President Ghani. Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Ghazaal Habibyar echoed this, adding "we do not want another plan that will sit on the shelf gathering dust".

Also speaking at the Conference, Jonas Moberg, Head of the EITI International Secretariat, said that "The latest report published by Afghanistan EITI includes a number of recommendations for improving the governance of the mining industries. These can inform and help to promote the government’s efforts to improve the accountability of the sector".

Beneficial ownership and contract transparency priorities for the government

Meeting with the EITI, President Ghani welcomed the EITI’s ground-breaking provisions on beneficial ownership and reaffirmed the high priority that his government gave to this subject. President Ghani noted that these provisions could contribute to addressing legacy issues around contracts and licenses. Earlier he had explained his government’s view, declaring that "all contracts need to be public and accessible to the public. My government is committed to reviewing all mining contracts to identify irregularities".

Using the EITI in Afghanistan

President Ghani’s strong commitment to implement the EITI as a tool for reforms was echoed by Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah at a later meeting with the EITI. CEO Abdullah was briefed on the recent progress of the EITI in Afghanistan and how the multi-stakeholder nature of the EITI could be used to communicate the government’s reform agenda to the wider public.

Jonas Moberg noted that Afghanistan is one of 51 countries around the world currently implementing the EITI. Afghanistan’s latest EITI Report, published in February 2016, included information on all stages of the extractive industries value chain including licenses and contracts, production, revenue data and audit practices. Afghanistan EITI is led by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.