Government says it has developed a Beneficial Ownership Roadmap, which will lift the veil of secrecy surrounding contracts and tax payments in the extractive industry.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development director of revenue policy Crispin Kulemeka made the remarks when he opened a day-long Malawi Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (MWEITI) workshop in Lilongwe last week.
He said government will be required to disclose information on tax payments, licences, contracts and production, among other key elements around resource extraction if the country is to attain this ‘compliant status’.
Kulemeka said the new Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) 2016 standards stipulates that all EITI implementing countries should have a roadmap for disclosing beneficial owners put in place by January 1 2017.
Said Kulemeka: “Malawi EITI, which was established with the strategic goal of ensuring national sustainable development through revenue transparency, is now working towards meeting EITI requirements to attain ‘compliant’ status, which guarantees membership.
“All this information, which includes beneficial ownership of extractive sector assets, payments by natural resource companies and government receipts will be independently reconciled and verified by an independent administrator before being compiled in an EITI report and our first report is due on April 22 2017.”
He indicated that the EITI reports, which the independent administrator will be producing annually, will be a useful tool for Malawians to see how the country is managing its natural resources, and how much revenue is being generated.
In his presentation, deputy head and regional director for Africa and the Middle East for the International EITI secretariat, Eddie Rich, said beneficial ownership information enhances revenue collection because it exposes corruption and nepotism in the acquisition process.
He said besides asking companies to voluntarily disclose information on their ownership structure, including any politically exposed persons, there are also mechanisms put in place to enable citizens get to know ownership of divested wells, licence holders, lease holders and companies bidding for extractive industry contracts.
Malawi’s development partners have played a crucial role in funding EITI-related activities, particularly the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Norwegian Embassy and the World Bank. n