SLEITI HOLDS RE-ORIENTATION WORKSHOP ON EITI PRINCIPLES AND PROCESS

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After declaring Sierra Leone an Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative Compliant state in April 2014, the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) with the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE) held a re-orientation workshop for the Multi-Stakeholder Group on EITI principles and processes at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.

The one day workshop aimed at consensus building and dialogue for a productive engagement of all EITI stakeholders. The State House Chief of Staff Mr Saidu Conton Sesay who also doubles as the SLEITI Champion said considering the centrality of the mining sector in the country’s economy, government was convinced that the process is a tool for driving national development. He registered government’s commitment and dedication to creating the enabling environment and to continue to ensure that the country remains compliant and the citizens benefit from the natural resources.

Among other successes highlighted, the Chief of Staff stated that there was a strong and vibrant civil society representation, completed value chain assessment, maintained donor support, increased transparency, a draft annual report and an on-going process of drafting a SLEITI policy that will lay the basis of a bill. He underscored the important role of the Multi-Stakeholder Group to ensure that SLEITI succeeds.

Briefing participants on the EITI processes, procedures and standards, the Ghanian EITI Co-Chair Dr Steve Manteaw in a power point presentation accentuated the significance of effective oversight by the MSG, credible assurance process applying international standards, a comprehensive EITI report that includes full government disclosure of all material payments to government by oil, gas and mining companies.

He furthered that the new standards of the EITI bothers on the legal framework and fiscal regime, the sector’s contribution to the economy, production data and state participation in the extractive industry among others. This, he said, has to do with process issues and what is reported.

The Acting Coordinator of SLEITI Secretariat Madam Mina Horace said moving forward and enhancing compliance, the Secretariat will prioritise on producing and validating the SLEITI policy, endorse and publish the 2014/15 revised work plan, develop MSG internal rules of governance as well as setting up focal desks in MDAs and the regions.

She said the secretariat is working on producing the 2013 report of which the 2012 and 2013 report will be produced according to EITI standards.

She pointed out that influencing reforms in the sector, knowledge creation and online repository for public debate and promotion of good governance among others will be key opportunities. Working groups discussed topics such as transparency and equity in mining operations, legal and regulatory framework and compliance in the implementation of EITI particularly in the Sierra Leone context, coordination of sector reforms and SLEITI’s contribution to the process also formed part of the workshop.