Publish What You Pay 

Email Update April 27th 2011




maa 2

               picture credit: VOA

Ghana's oil report card - could do better

Ghana became Africa’s newest oil producer in December 2010 having discovered oil in 2007. But can Ghana avoid the ‘resource curse’ and ensure that the discovery of oil becomes a blessing that benefits all its citizens?
At events organised by Oxfam America in Washington DC, Accra and London the Ghanaian Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas presented a report called “Ghana’s oil boom: a readiness report card”. The report evaluated Ghana’s preparedness for managing the challenges brought on at the end of 2010. The platform assessed the performance of the various actors involved in the management of Ghana’s oil: the government and parliament of Ghana, Ghana’s donor partners, civil society and oil and gas companies. All the actors were awarded C grades and warnings were made that the government of Ghana would have to increase its efforts in transparency and planning to avoid succumbing to the resource curse. Concerns were raised about the continued opacity of contracts and the failure by some companies to disclose their payments to the governments.
However foundations for a better management of natural resources have been laid. The report stated that “On the positive side, Ghana‘s parliament passed the long-delayed and debated petroleum revenue management bill at the beginning of March 2011” and awarded the government a “B” for work on transparency and citizen participation.
Read an article covering the event in Washington D.C
Read an article covering the event in Accra
Read Oxfam America's press release about the events
Read the slideshow presentation of the event in London
Read the report itself


SEC delays publication of Dodd-Frank 1504 rules

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced it will delay the finalization of the Dodd-Frank rules, setting an August-December timeframe for their publication.

Senators Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D- Maryland), sponsors of the Dodd-Frank 1504 provision, wrote to SEC chair Mary L. Shapiro asking why the SEC had delayed the enactment of the provision.  The senators argued time was of the essence, referring to the push elsewhere in the world – including in the European Union - to adopt similar legislation to Dodd-Frank. In an article for the Huffington post, the senators stated that they were ‘eager to see the final rules from our own Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid creating incompatible regulations [with the European Union].’

Members of PWYP Europe are also keen to see a rapid publication of the rules and are writing to the SEC restating Europe’s plans to implement similar rules to Dodd-Frank and urging the SEC to ‘keep as closely as possible to the release date mandated by the legislation’.


Norway: How to introduce country-by-country reporting for extractive companies?

With the introduction of country by country reporting in the US in the shape of Dodd-Frank 1504, and the EU’s commitment to follow suit, PWYP Norway has proposed that the Norwegian government introduce country by country reporting for extractive companies on an independent basis, capitalising on its leading role in work on good governance and increased transparency in the extractive sector.
To this end, PWYP Norway commissioned a report – written by the Norwegian law firm Arntzen de Besche – on the logistics and feasibility of introducing such a standard into Norwegian law. The report examines where the standard should be placed and discusses details such as which payments and activities the standard will cover, as well as providing an overview of the current Norwegian law and the global state of play for country by country reporting standards.
At the report launch state secretary Roger Schjerva of the Ministry of Finance,  voiced his approval for such a move, stating that : “I have decided today that we will send this on a hearing in the Financial Supervisory Authority (“Finanstilsynet”) to have their views on this. We shall move forward with the content of a country by country reporting. We shall work on this with regards to the technical committees that we participate in. We will have a Nordic meeting for the Ministers of Finance in June, and then it is natural that we bring this up, in order to secure a good process form the Nordic countries..”
Read the full report in English and Norwegian

Read a brief summary of the report

Watch the videos of the report launch (in Norwegian with English subtitles)

New EITI rules and transition arrangements

The revision of the EITI Rules undertaken by the previous EITI Board was a step in the right direction, and has strengthened the requirements for implementing the EITI. However, the new rules still need to come in to force; otherwise they are meaningless.

The new policy on the participation of civil society in the EITI is very welcome and PWYP continues to press the EITI Board to ensure that countries implementing the EITI fully meet the requirements on the free, full, independent, active and effective participation of civil society.

The establishment of a maximum candidacy period of 3 years and 6 months is also significant as previously the EITI Rules placed no restrictions on the length of candidature. The Board has recognised that candidacy is a temporary state which is intended to lead to EITI Compliant status in a timely fashion, or result in de-listing. At the same time, the Board has strengthened the requirements for becoming a Candidate country and established a new Board Committee, the Outreach and Candidacy Committee which will review all candidacy applications to ensure that countries are adequately prepared for successful and timely implementation of the EITI before becoming Candidates. 

Read the rest of this blog online


Tea Time For Change

PWYP UK members CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, Action Aid, Save the Children and Oxfam are hosting a mass rally at Westminster on 9 June 2011. Participants in this lobby for international development will have the opportunity to chat with their Member of Parliament over a cup of tea and ask them to take a stand on global poverty.

One of the key issues Tea Time for Change will raise with MPs is that of tax and transparency. As Teatime For Change explains on its site : “At the moment secrecy around how companies operate means they can siphon vast amounts of money out of developing countries into tax havens. This deprives countries of much needed tax revenues that they could spend on teachers and doctors. Secrecy also means it’s hard for citizens to demand that their governments use proceeds from natural resources for development.” We are very pleased tax transparency and government accountability for extractive industry revenues is a key issue being highlighted in Tea Time For Change. This is a fantastic initiative and helps to explain where the aims of Publish What You Pay fit into the narrative and objectives of major non-governmental development agencies.

Visit Tea Time for Change’s website to sign up to this event and for more information

Yemen: Upheaval and prospects for extractive industry transparency

PWYP continues to monitor closely the situation in Yemen which has been experiencing popular uprisings similar to those seen in other countries in the region – including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain and Syria. In the past three months, more than 130 people have been killed in popular protests against the rule of long-term President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Last weekend, under the auspices of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), the political parties reached an agreement for the transfer of power, which would see President Saleh step down in 30 days. The situation remains tense, however, and PWYP International is in regular contact with members of the affiliated Yemeni CSO coalition, discussing with them what the implications are for the country’s EITI process. Yemen was designated as EITI Compliant in March 2011.

PWYP Welcomes a new member in Nepal!

Global South Initiative

Global South Initiative (GSI) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to making a difference in the Global South. It was established in January 2010, registered at the District Administration Office, Kathmandu and has been affiliated with Social Welfare Council Nepal since January 2010. GSI primarily works for Poverty Reduction, Climate Change & Sustainable Development, Education and HIV/AIDS.