Commentary: COVID-19 threatens EITI implementation, but transparency in the extractives sector will be needed in the aftermath of the crisis

Author: Bady Baldé and Joanne Jones, EITI, Published on: 8 May 2020

"Keeping transparency on track", 27 April 2020.

...efforts to ensure greater transparency...are hampered by three factors – a sharp decline in extractive revenues, the difficulty of maintaining a focus on transparency as a policy priority and the transition to virtual working...In economies with large extractives sectors, the temporary closure of operations will further constrain national budgets at a time when most sectors of the economy badly need government support...Developing countries which have not been able to diversify their economies will be disproportionately affected...

IMF Head Kristalina Georgieva warned that accountability and transparency should not take a back seat as governments spend to tackle the health crisis. The extractives sector is already vulnerable to corruption...Communities around extractives operations will be among the hardest hit...EITI supporting companies such as Newmont, Rio Tinto and Anglo American have responded by setting up emergency funds and detailing how operations should work with local communities through the crisis. But in many regions, the voices of these communities will go unheard...

The EITI supports advocacy and reporting mechanisms to monitor extractives revenues and payments...Decisions are traditionally taken...by multi-stakeholder groups meeting in person. Under current circumstances, multi-stakeholder groups have had to adapt to the changing landscape...In many cases, managing this transition has been challenging. Basic internet access is lacking...we surveyed how these factors affect each of the 53 countries implementing the EITI. We identified at least nine countries where EITI implementation is at high risk...34 countries are likely to experience...moderate delays in implementation...A pilot project with Open Oil will seek to support EITI implementing countries by combining verified data from EITI reports with oil price data to make more robust data on revenue forecasts public. The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals, Minerals and Sustainable Development has generated a comprehensive briefing note on mining tax policy responses to Covid-19...

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Related companies: Anglo American Newmont (formerly Newmont Goldcorp) Rio Tinto