The EITI Board concluded that Liberia has achieved a moderate overall score in EITI implementation. Despite challenges related to its EITI internal governance and the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberia has used the EITI’s multi-stakeholder platform to meet public demand for transparency and accountability in the mining, oil and gas, agriculture and forestry sectors.
Activity in the mining, oil and gas, forestry and agriculture sectors dominates the national economy of Liberia and plays a key role in the country’s economic development, accounting for 52% of GDP in 2019. While the country’s mining sector is largely driven by one large iron ore project, Liberia also has an extensive artisanal and informal mining sector. The agriculture and forestry sectors are the country’s largest private sector employers.
The LEITI Act, enacted in 2009, has institutionalised the EITI process and ensured its continued functioning, including in local outreach and dissemination. While Liberia has used its EITI implementation to publish comprehensive data on government extractive revenues, company disclosures could be further strengthened. There is also an opportunity to strengthen the EITI’s role as an annual diagnostic of extractive industry governance. Since 2020, Liberia EITI has overcome a governance crisis caused by deviations from rules related to the appointment of LEITI staff and of MSG members in 2018-2019.
“I commend Liberia EITI for recovering from its governance crisis and resuming its efforts to use the EITI as a platform to bring about reform and debate in the extractive sector,” said Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair. “There are opportunities to build on these efforts by improving transparency around the award of extractive rights, the beneficial ownership of companies, contracts, and the operations of the national oil company.”
Shining a light, nationwide
Liberia has long used outreach and dissemination as a central aspect of its EITI implementation. The country’s 15 counties each have designated focal points for EITI implementation, which have provided an institutional mechanism for outreach and dissemination at the regional level, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been widespread national press coverage of LEITI activities. Yet, there is opportunity for the media and stakeholders to make better use of Liberia’s EITI data to inform analysis and sector policies, for example by comparing and forecasting revenues across companies and years.
A tool for supporting reforms
Liberia has used the EITI to begin collecting beneficial ownership information from companies operating in all sectors of the economy, although it has yet to establish an enabling environment for public disclosures. In February, Liberia launched the Opening Extractives programme with the aim to strengthen its disclosures of beneficial ownership data. There is scope for Liberian authorities to make greater use of the EITI to support reforms in this area and beyond, including in disclosures related to licensing, contracts and state participation.
Towards real-time transparency
The LEITI Act provides a robust basis for systematic disclosures of EITI data on the extractive industries. The Ministry of Mines and Energy maintains a public mining cadastral portal, while the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) provides information on its website on bid procedures for oil and gas licensing rounds. However, routine government disclosures on other aspects of the extractive industries remain limited outside of EITI Reports. Liberia’s multi-stakeholder group plans to develop an online portal in the coming year to automate disclosures from government. The EITI process can also be used to support ongoing or planned reforms, such as amendments to the Minerals and Mines Act and regulations for beneficial ownership disclosures.
Following this Validation, Liberia received 14 corrective actions and 16 strategic recommendations for strengthening its EITI implementation, with a next Validation scheduled to commence in July 2024.