The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, LEITI, has announced the launch of its long-awaited 2015/2016 report after being suspended by EITI, the global standard for promoting open and accountable management of extractive resources in September last year.
Liberiaâ€™s membership was suspended for its failure to publish its EITI report for the fiscal period ending June 2016 on July 1 last year. The board had also rejected a request from the government to extend the reporting deadline.
The launch of the report (found here) was announced by LEITIâ€™s Multi-Stakeholder Group or MSG on Monday after President George Weah completed the reestablishment of the MSG one month after Liberiaâ€™s membership was suspended.
The head of the MSG, C. Mike Donyen, said in a statement on Monday that one of LEITIâ€™s core functions is to publish its annual report. He said the report was required to make public disclosure of revenue and tax payment data from the extractive sector.
â€œThis is intended to promote transparent resource management, good governance, and ensure that Liberians benefit from the proceeds of their resources,â€ he said.
Donyen noted that the ninth report commissioned by the MSG in November last year and prepared by Liberian firm Parker & Company LLC, in association with Moore Stephens LLP of the United Kingdom, contains reconciled accounts of payments made to and revenues received by the government of Liberia from oil, mining, forestry, and agricultural companies from July 1, 2015 up to June 30, 2016.
â€œIn this report, data from government agencies show that total revenue generated in the extractive industries after reconciliation work totaled USD$66.37 Million during the FY 2015/16,â€ he added.
He said direct government revenue from the extractive sector decreased from US$100.73 million in fiscal year 2014/2015 to US$56.4 million in the fiscal year 2015/2016.
Donyen disclosed that the decrease was attributed to several factors that include the fall in prices on the global market of the countryâ€™s major export commodities.
He said while records of companies show that the government was paid US$62,481,551, the government acknowledged receipt of US$54,490,667, thereby creating a discrepancy of US$7,990,874.
The MSG chair attributed the discrepancy to the failure of companies to submit payment data for receipts reported by the government and the failure of reconcilers to provide adequate information on payment data provided by the companies.
He said the report also includes information on payment data of in-kind contributions made by extractive companies to the local communities and public institutions; revenue tracking, and the amount due for fixed amounts.
Meanwhile, Donyen said the findings of the report would be discussed with citizens and their views on the recommendations would be welcomed.
â€œHence, the launch of the report is expected to be followed by massive dissemination exercises, including extensive outreach throughout the fifteen counties of Liberia, once funding is secured,â€ Donyen said.
He said the MSG was committed to further reviewing the findings and recommendations of the report with the aim of identifying areas for policy implementation.