Mauritania 2016 Validation

Mauritania's Validation commenced on 01 July 2016.

On 8 March 2017, Mauritania was validated against the 2016 Standard

Validation is the EITI's quality assurance mechanism and measures the progress countries have made in meeting the requirements of the EITI Standard. For more information about the country, visit the country page on eiti.org.

The Board's decision

On 8 March 2017, the EITI Board came to the following decision on Mauritania’s status: 

The Board agrees that Mauritania has made meaningful progress overall in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard. In taking this decision the EITI Board commended the efforts of the Mauritanian EITI National Committee (MSG) to play a proactive role in the national natural resource governance debate and to follow up on recommendations from the EITI reporting process. The EITI Board also noted the MSG’s active engagement with stakeholders such as the Prime Minister’s Office to actively follow up on EITI recommendations, as well as the efforts to go beyond the EITI’s requirements on bringing transparency to other sectors such as fisheries. The EITI Board highlighted that the EITI has provided a positive platform for driving reforms in the mining, oil and gas sector as well as public finance management. The EITI Board was encouraged by the government’s efforts to make government systems more transparent and accountable and urged the MSG to work towards further mainstreaming EITI disclosures. 

The Board’s determination of Mauritania’s progress with the EITI’s requirements is outlined in the assessment card, below. The EITI Board agreed that Mauritania had not made satisfactory progress on requirements 1.4, 1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 4.1, 4.9, 5.1, 5.2 and 7.4. The major areas of concern relate to MSG governance (#1.4), workplan (#1.5), license allocations (#2.2), license registers (#2.3), contract disclosure (#2.4), state participation (#2.6), comprehensiveness (#4.1), data quality (#4.9), revenue management and expenditure (#5.1), subnational transfers (#5.2) and review of outcomes and impact (#7.4). The EITI Board disagreed with the validator on the following requirements: civil society engagement (#1.3), barter and infrastructure agreements (#4.3), subnational transfers (#5.2), social expenditures (#6.1), quasi-fiscal expenditures (#6.2) and contribution to the economy (#6.3).

Accordingly, the EITI Board agreed that Mauritania will need to take corrective actions outlined below. Progress with the corrective actions will be assessed in a second validation commencing on 8 September 2018. Failure to achieve meaningful progress with considerable improvements across several individual requirements in the second Validation will result in suspension in accordance with the EITI Standard.  In accordance with the EITI Standard, the MSG may request an extension of this timeframe, or request that Validation commences earlier than scheduled.

The Board’s decision followed a Validation that commenced on 1 July 2016. In accordance with the 2016 EITI Standard, an initial assessment was undertaken by the International Secretariat. The findings were reviewed an Independent Validator, who submitted a Validation Report to the EITI Board. Mauritania’s MSG was invited to comment throughout the process. The MSG’s comments on the report were taken into consideration. The final decision was taken by the EITI Board.

Mauritania's progress by requirement

The EITI Board agreed the following assessment card:

Corrective actions

The EITI Board agreed the following corrective actions. Progress in addressing these corrective actions will be assessed in a second Validation commencing on 8 September 2018:

  1. In accordance with requirement 1.3a, the MSG should ensure that civil society is fully, actively and effectively engaged in the EITI process.
     
  2. In accordance with requirement 1.4.a.ii, the MSG should ensure that its procedures for nominating and changing multi-stakeholder group representatives are public and confirm the right of each stakeholder group to appoint its own representatives. In accordance with requirement 1.4.b.ii and 1.4.b.iii, the MSG should undertake effective outreach activities with civil society groups and companies, including through communication such as media, website and letters, informing stakeholders of the government’s commitment to implement the EITI, and the central role of companies and civil society. Members of the MSG should liaise with their constituency groups. In accordance with requirement 1.4.b.vi, the MSG should ensure an inclusive decision-making process throughout implementation, particularly as concerns industry. In accordance with requirement 1.4.b.vii the MSG should ensure timely announcement of meetings and circulation of documents. It should also ensure written records of its discussions and decisions are kept, in accordance with requirement 1.4.b.viii.
     
  3. In accordance with requirement 1.5.a, the MSG should maintain a current work plan that sets EITI implementation objectives that reflect national priorities for the extractive industries. In accordance with requirement 1.5.b, the work plan must reflect the results of consultations with key stakeholders.
     
  4. In accordance with requirement 2.2.a, the government should ensure annual disclosure of which mining, oil, and gas licenses were awarded and transferred during the year, highlighting the technical and financial requirements and any non-trivial deviations from the applicable legal and regulatory framework governing license awards and transfers. In accordance with requirement 2.3, the government should also ensure that the dates of application, commodities covered and coordinates for all oil, gas and mining licenses held by material companies are publicly available.
     
  5. In accordance with requirement 2.4.b, the MSG is required to document the government’s policy on disclosure of contracts and licenses that govern the exploration and exploitation of oil, gas and minerals through the EITI Report. This should include relevant legal provisions, any reforms that are planned or underway as well as an overview of contracts already published.
     
  6. In accordance with requirement 2.6, the MSG should provide an explanation of the prevailing rules and practices related to SOEs’ retained earnings and reinvestment. The government should also ensure annual disclosure of any changes in government ownership in SOEs or their subsidiaries as well as terms associated with their equity, and provide a comprehensive account of any loans or loan guarantees extended by the state or SOEs to mining, oil, and gas companies. In accordance with requirement 6.2, the MSG should consider the existence and materiality of any quasi-fiscal expenditures undertaken by SOEs and subsidiaries in the extractive industries and ensure that all material quasi-fiscal expenditures are disclosed.
     
  7. In accordance with requirement 4.1.c, the MSG should ensure that the Independent Administrator assesses the materiality of non-reporting companies and government entities as well as provide its opinion on the comprehensiveness of the EITI Report. The MSG should also ensure that aggregate information about the amount of total revenues received from each of the benefit streams agreed in the scope of the EITI Report, including revenues that fall below agreed materiality thresholds, be provided by government, in accordance with requirement 4.1.d.
     
  8. In accordance with requirement 4.9.b.iii and the standard Terms of Reference for the Independent Administrator agreed by the EITI Board, the MSG and Independent Administrator should:
    1. examine the audit and assurance procedures in companies and government entities participating in the EITI reporting process, and based on this examination, agree what information participating companies and government entities are required to provide to the Independent Administrator in order to assure the credibility of the data in accordance with Requirement 4.9. The Independent Administrator should exercise judgement and apply appropriate international professional standards[1] in developing a procedure that provide a sufficient basis for a comprehensive and reliable EITI Report. The Independent Administrator should employ his/her professional judgement to determine the extent to which reliance can be placed on the existing controls and audit frameworks of the companies and governments. The Independent Administrator’s inception report should document the options considered and the rationale for the assurances to be provided.
    2. ensure that the Independent Administrator provides an assessment of comprehensiveness and reliability of the (financial) data presented, including an informative summary of the work performed by the Independent Administrator and the limitations of the assessment provided.
    3. ensure that the Independent Administrator provides an assessment of whether all companies and government entities within the agreed scope of the EITI reporting process provided the requested information. Any gaps or weaknesses in reporting to the Independent Administrator must be disclosed in the EITI Report, including naming any entities that failed to comply with the agreed procedures, and an assessment of whether this is likely to have had material impact on the comprehensiveness and reliability of the report.
       
  9. In accordance with requirement 5.1.a, the MSG should ensure that the allocation of extractives revenues not recorded in the national are explained, with links provided to relevant financial reports as applicable.
     
  10. In accordance with requirement 5.2.a, the MSG should assess the materiality of subnational transfers prior to data collection and ensure that the specific formula for calculating transfers to individual local governments be disclosed, to support an assessment of discrepancies between budgeted and executed subnational transfers.
     
  11. In accordance with requirement 6.1.a, the MSG should ensure that mandatory social expenditures are comprehensively disclosed once they become effective through implementing regulations.
     
  12. In accordance with requirements 6.3, the MSG should ensure that an estimate of informal mining activities be disclosed for the year(s) under review.

The MSG is encouraged to consider the other recommendations in the Validator’s Report and the International Secretariat’s initial assessment, and to document the MSG’s responses to these recommendations in the next annual progress report.

 

[1] For example, ISA 505 relative to external confirmations; ISA 530 relative to audit sampling; ISA 500 relative to audit evidence; ISRS 4400 relative to the engagement to perform agreed-upon procedures regarding financial information and ISRS 4410 relative to compilation engagements.

Next Validation date

A second Validation will commence on 8 September 2018.

Impact of EITI in Mauritania

There is significant scope for the EITI to achieve tangible progress in improving extractive industry governance in Mauritania. A 2008 World Bank study on corruption in Mauritania found that 84% of the 361 companies surveyed admitted to having bribed a government official. It also found that the average value of bribes was 4.8% of annual turnover and 7.7% of the value of contracts awarded. Despite these challenges, some 82% of companies consulted did not view corruption as a major constraint in business development.[1] The IMF noted in an October 2011 ex post programme assessment that Mauritania’s ranking in the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) had “barely changed” since the start of EITI implementation.[2]  However the implementation of key recommendations from the 2013 EITI Report since May 2015 has had significant impacts on the governance and oversight of the oil and gas industry in particular.

The EITI process in Mauritania has had some impact, even if stakeholders agree its primary outcome has been limited to awareness raising and focused on the reporting process. However, stakeholders also highlighted important reforms that had been implemented as a result of following up on EITI recommendations. As part of the International Secretariat’s assessment of the impact of the EITI, all stakeholders were asked why Mauritania was implementing the EITI and to assess its impact. Several industry and government stakeholders noted that Mauritania had decided to implement the EITI in 2005 ahead of an expected oil revenue windfall linked to first production from the Chinguetti field in 2006. All stakeholders consulted highlighted that the decision to implement the EITI had come following a military coup d’état as part of broader governance reforms. One CSO noted that while the initial driver of implementation had been from external pressure to manage its oil wealth, the need to ensure good relations between companies and host communities became a key driver, particularly following high-profile cases against certain mining and petroleum companies. The MSG’s November 2013 diagnostic study on EITI implementation in Mauritania identified achievements and gains for each of the three stakeholder groups centred around greater communication, trust-building and providing a platform for disclosing information about a traditionally opaque and mistrusted industry.[3]

Read more in Mauritania's initial data collection report

 

[1] See section 4.1 (p.34) of OSIWA & CODESRIA (2011), ‘Etat de la gouvernance en Afrique de l’Ouest : Mauritanie’ - http://www.codesria.org/IMG/pdf/GMP_Mauritanie.pdf?3148/ba9a58c0961e89cb90f1556db0382d8f5ebd7e5a  and Banque Mondiale (2008), Etude sur la corruption - http://www.un.mr/suiv-eval/s&e/Bailleurs%20de%20Fonds/Banque%20Mondiale/BM%20etude%20anti-corruption%20fev%202008%20resume.doc

[2] See footnote 21 on p.20 of FMI (Octobre 2011), ‘République islamique de Mauritanie : Evaluation ex post d’un engagement à long terme sous programme’.

[3] CNITIE (Novembre 2013), ‘Rapport de l’étude portant diagnostic de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE en Mauritanie’ - http://itie-mr.org/images/Etudes/Rapport%20-%20Etude%20mise%20en%20oeuvre%20ITIE%20-%20RIM%20-%2010-11-13.pdf