Policy Forum in collaboration with the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI) and Hakimadini have organised a training (2nd to 3rd April 2014) in Arusha aimed at getting northern Tanzania civil society representatives working on extractives issues up to speed with the new EITI standards so as to enhance their ability to hold their government into account.
Ms. Alice Swai from TEITI secretariat gave participants an overview of the new EITI standards which were formulated in 2013 to improve the previous 2011 standards which mainly focused on promoting transparency in revenues emanating from the extractive sector (tax revenues) but did little to enhance transparency in content of the whole extractive industry value chain.
The new 2013 standards require among others the disclosure of licenses, production data and encourage the disclosure of the contracts entered by countries with extractive companies, she said.
Ms. Swai, said the other standards are currently implemented in the TEITI reports (which can be accessed on http://www.teiti.or.tz/ ) where the 3rd TEITI Reconciliation report discloses the register of license by providing access to the following online portal: https://portal.madini.go.tz , the report among other requirements also provides for minerals production data and describe the legal framework and fiscal regime governing the extractive industries in Tanzania
She further said that, in order to go beyond these standards the public including CSO and citizens have to use the EITI information in a way that can bring about policy changes that will lead to better management of natural resources in Tanzania, stressing that transparency alone in the extractive industry is not enough as it must co-exist with accountability and a responsive government to adhere to good governance.
Mr. Silas Olang from the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) who stressed that EITI data should be viewed as information that can bring about change, pointed out that knowledge on extractives should be disseminated to citizens as stipulated under principle 4 of EITI which recognises that “public understanding of government revenues and expenditure over time could help public debate and inform choice of appropriate and realistic policy options for sustainable development.” When citizens are informed, he added, they tend to be in a better position to air their informed views and participate in policy formulation of the sector. He elaborated further that the aim of the training was also part of the effort to enable CSOs get informed understanding so as to bring about policy changes.
Lastly, he spoke about the Revenue Governance Index (RGI) which he said is used to measure governance performance in the extractive sector, noting that a country can also use the index to identify the priority areas for policy improvement.