Liberia, Sierra Leone To Enact EITI Law

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The Sierra Leone Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) will follow Liberia by enacting an EITI law, and include forestry and agriculture in it, a news release from SLEITI and its Liberian counterpart said. The decision came after a five-day learning exchange between the SLEITI and the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) that ended last week.

“The completion of the event has further strengthened the outlook for EITI implementation in both countries, as participants shed light on adaptive methods of implementing EITI within their respective governance structures,” the release said. “The weeklong event… has also strengthened the already existing ties between Liberia and Sierra Leone EITI,” it added. The EITI is a Norway-based international NGO that seeks to promote good governance in the extractive sector.  Liberia and Sierra Leone are two of 55 countries implementing the EITI Standards, which require each member country to publish a report yearly on extractive transactions.  Liberia’s EITI established its program in 2007, one year before Sierra Leone. Adding forestry and agriculture to the EITI’s main industries—oil/gas and mining—Liberia won the Best EITI Implementing Country Award in 2009. That same year, the LEITI Act was created.  It became the first African country and second in the world to become EITI compliant. It remains one of the most comprehensive EITI programs in the world. Unlike Liberia, Sierra Leone has not legislated its EITI program. The visiting SLEITI team said it would work to include forestry and agriculture in its EITI program. The team comprised civil society, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources. Also following in Liberia’s footsteps, the SLEITI said it would work to create a beneficial ownership regulation to publish the shareholders of companies’ human owners. “Sierra Leone’s goal is to utilize the Liberian experience on [beneficial ownership (BO) ] progress to improve its own BO, while Liberia is looking to build on the progress of Sierra Leone,” the release said. The SLEITI is effective at work planning and recommendation follow-up, according to a 2022 report by the EITI secretariat. The LEITI said it would emulate Sierra Leone’s example by including local authorities in its extractive governance programs and letting senior government officials launch its annual reports. LEITI’s board of directors—known as the multi-stakeholders steering committee or MSG—does that. It said it would include a braille version of its annual reports to promote the participation of people with visual impairment. “Mr. Jeffrey N. Yates and Mr. Mohammed B. Koroma, National Coordinators of Liberia and Sierra Leone EITI Secretariats strongly expressed confidence that the peer exchange and learning event will objectively impact their respective country EITI implementation activities,” it added. The German Cooperation (GIZ), the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry of Cooperation (BMZ) funded the exchange exercise.  By James Harding Giahyue/thedaylight.org

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