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Civil Society Groups and Journalists Engaged on SLEITI Reporting and Validation

 

Civil society groups and journalists should "advance the agenda of transparency and accountability" by using information disclosed in the EITI Reports to hold government and companies to account, cause policy changes and reforms in the sector. The SLEITI National Coordinator Mina Horace made this statement at one-day capacity building workshop held at the SLEITI Secretariat on Wednesday 24th October 2018 for active Civil society groups and journalists on SLEITI reporting.

She said transforming oil,gas, and mineral wealth into sustainable development requires a complete chain of economic decisions and strong foundations of good governance, without which the potential of the sector and its proceeds will not be better harnessed and utilised judiciously. She therefore called on civil society groups and journalists to use advocacy, whistle blowing, and monitoring as major tools to raise awareness about natural resource governance.

The importance of mining sector to the economy of Sierra Leone was recorded in the report. According to its findings, total minerals exported in 2016 amounted to USD$471.m . The contribution of the mining sector to the GDP in 2016 was 2.7%.

Revenue streams in the mining sector had an uneven performance between 2013-2016 with royalty, mining license, and export duty on diamond being the among the highest revenue earners.It is important to note that for royalty/tax fiscal regime with producing mining companies, some of which have operated for more than a decade, corporate tax contribution appears meagre in 2016 which amounted for just 1% of direct payments by the extractive. 

The Large Scale mining Compliance Manager National Minerals Agency Yusuf Suma in his contribution informed that the Agency came into being following the need to strengthen governance of the mining sector. He said challenges associated with the sector are being addressed gradually. Surface rent disbursement, license allocation, the pending airborne geophysical survey are among key issues raised in his submission. Suma's contribution follows rounds of questions posed by participants, mainly, civil society group representatives and journalists. 

Though SLEITI reporting was the focus of the one-day capacity building workshop, Madam Horace informed participants that SLEITI was due to undergo validation by the EITI International Secretariat from 5-9 November 2018 to asses whether Sierra Leone's implementation was consistent with the EITI requirements. validation is an essential feature of the EITI as it is intended to provide all stakeholders with an impartial assessment in addition to promoting learning and dialogue at the country level.

Similar information was shared with a wider constituency of journalists at the Government of Sierra Leone Weekly Press Conference. Madam Horace also spoke about the African Beneficial Ownership Conference to be held in Dakar, Senegal from October 31st to November 2nd, 2018.     

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