Taken from section 7.5 of the initial data collection
All stakeholders interviewed for this assessment considered that EITI is relevant for STP despite the lack of production and the low level of activity in the extractive sector. The first EITI Report was published in December 2014 and much of the potential impact of the EITI is yet to be realised. Concrete impact to date relates to increasing public understanding of the oil sector, indirectly improving information management in government agencies, deepening collaboration between sectors and identifying governance challenges especially related to the JDZ and social expenditure.
Tracking the status of implementation of social projects has led to clear gaps being identified in the management and monitoring of these contributions. Projects are delayed as companies and the government are not always able to agree on the content of the project. Both company and civil society representatives noted the need for clear guidelines and better monitoring. A government representative recognised that the publication of information on social projects in EITI Reports had created an external pressure that had made the ANP, which monitors social projects, more accountable.
Both the 2003-2013 and 2014 EITI Reports go beyond minimum requirements in publishing information about the management of revenues. Stakeholders noted that it was common that citizens had an inaccurate understanding of the volume and use of oil revenue and that the EITI helped clarify these issues and show that revenue allocations followed fiscal rules. The 2014 EITI Report documents transfers from the central government to the autonomous region of Príncipe and to municipalities. In a media interview, the president of the regional government, Tozé Cassandra, noted that the EITI helped clarify the misunderstanding that transfers from the central government were very large. Currently the most significant barrier to achieving the work plan's objective of transparent use of petroleum revenue is the lack of such revenue. The EITI however helps to consolidate the basis for sound revenue management in preparation for future oil revenue and helps track the utilisation of sporadic revenue, such as signature bonuses.
Considering the current revenue from the sector and reliance on external funding, there are legitimate concerns that the EITI is not viable in its current form. Government agencies reported that EITI had already led to them identifying the need to improve information management systems to ensure that data was readily available when requested. STP has relatively strong institutions for transparency, and much of the information featured in EITI Reports could be published regularly on the GRIP and ANP websites. ANP is already preparing to add license information on its website and the Ministry of Finance and the central bank have discussed the possibility of publishing National Oil Account transactions monthly on the GRIP website. This would save annual data collection costs. The recently developed and still unpopulated STP-EITI website could also be used for disclosing data online.
The 2003-2013 and 2014 EITI Reports contain information about the budget and funding of the JDA. The JDA's high expenditures have provoked criticism, and civil society representatives noted that they were going to use the findings from EITI Reports to advocate that the management of the JDZ be revisited. Prime Minister Trovoada recently discussed the future of the JDZ with the Nigerian President Buhari and the press reported following the meeting that the management of the zone would be reviewed. The EITI is informing public discussion on the topic. The 2014 EITI Report found that the JDA is not compliant with the Abuja Declaration on Transparency and Good Governance. The declaration requires that the JDA discloses much of the information required by the EITI on its website. By bringing this into public knowledge, the EITI puts pressure on the governments of Nigeria and STP to ensure that JDA discloses the required information. An MSG member suggested that the Government of STP raises the issue in the next meeting of the inter-ministerial council. Very good discussion
The government has requested a grant from the World Bank to strengthen the capacity of the ANP and to revise the strategy and legal framework for the oil sector. The 2014 EITI Report contains recommendations related to this. For the information and recommendations to lead to improved governance, the MSG needs to consider and address them. For the EITI to reach its potential impact, the 2016 work plan should reflect the MSG's positions towards the recommendations and outline activities for furthering the agreed objectives.
The AfDB is funding a scoping study on including fisheries in EITI reporting which is being finalised. This increases the chances of the EITI maintaining its relevance even if commercial oil discoveries are not made. Integrating into the process a sector that is inherently different from the oil industry and involving a new set of actors in the MSG’s work may prove to be challenging. As none of the CSOs represented on the MSG focus specifically on the extractive sector, there is potential for the MSG to become a wider platform for dialogue on budget transparency and the management of natural resources beyond oil.