The EITI Standard is in its fifth version since the EITI Principles were agreed in 2003. The Principles, on which the EITI is still based, state that the wealth from a country’s natural resources should benefit all its citizens and that this requires high standards of transparency and accountability.
This 2016 version of the Standard encourages countries to make use of existing reporting systems for EITI data collection and make the results transparent at source The 2016 Standard introduces new aspects and breaks new ground in that the identity of the real owners – the ‘beneficial owners’ – of the companies that have obtained rights to extract oil, gas and minerals will have to be disclosed from 2020.
In many resource rich countries, ownership secrecy contributes to corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. In the last three years, the fight against secret company ownership has gained extraordinary momentum. Yet, to date, there is relatively little beneficial ownership information available to the public.
Is a time for consolidation of the requirements and more focus on making it work – making EITI less bureaucratic and more integrated with strengthened government systems; turning the recommendations into reforms; and improving the quality of the information and public debate.