Eliminate Bribery & Corruption
Governments & Corporations Must Disclose Natural Resource Payments
Most people seem to agree that, at least theoretically, a nation's "natural resource wealth" belongs to all the people of that nation. So why is that policy so difficult to put into practice? A major obstacle is the fact that most government deals with natural resource extraction corporations are secret, and involve secret payments. Some of these are bribes, some are tax breaks, some are concealed subsidies -- and all are immoral.
The "Publish What You Pay" coalition was formed to make all such payments public. Then we'll know which corrupt governments and corporations are seizing the values that rightfully belong to the people. The Banneker Center for Economic Justice is a member of the PWYP coalition.
Now, the PWYP coalition has issued a statement to the G8 summit meeting in Evian, France. The statement is in rather bureaucratic language, but we think you'll find it interesting in spite of that. Remember, by "transparency" they mean "open disclosure of payments."
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) was launched in June 2002 as an appeal for full transparency of oil, gas and mining companies' payments to all national governments. PWYP seeks to provide a mechanism to address the paradox of plenty – the link between natural resource wealth and poverty in many developing countries, such as Angola, Azerbaijan, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela. The call for mandatory disclosure of company payments to and transactions with governments on a country-by-country basis is led by an international coalition of over 110 non-governmental organisations, which is pressing for the establishment of an international regulatory framework. PWYP is complementary to wider global efforts related to international development, poverty alleviation, corporate social responsibility, and tackling corruption, for which transparency is an essential condition.
Publish What You Pay NGO Coalition Statement to the G8 Summit
The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition of over 110 NGOs strongly welcomes the inclusion of extractive industries transparency on the agenda at the G8 Summit in Evian. The French Government has proposed to focus on the broad theme of the financial, social and ethical responsibility of governments and corporations in which transparency will be addressed.
Transparency of financial flows between oil, gas and mining companies and all governments is a necessary first step that will significantly contribute to poverty alleviation, global energy security and addressing the lack of budget accountability in many resource-rich countries. Natural resource wealth should be an important engine for sustainable economic growth and therefore poverty reduction in resource-rich countries. However, because of inadequate disclosure mechanisms in many of these petroleum and mineral exporting countries, revenues are not managed properly, which facilitates damaging economic and social impacts including persistent and systemic poverty, armed conflicts, human rights violations and political instability. Transparency in revenue accounting from natural resources, which is more routine in developed countries, would also significantly enhance the capacity of citizens in developing countries to engage in an informed debate over the optimal use of national resources.
Therefore, the PWYP coalition calls on the G8 to commit to the establishment of an international framework for the disclosure of the considerations (payments, taxes, fees and royalties) made by oil, gas and mining companies to governments on a country-by-country basis. Specifically, PWYP calls on the G8 governments to:
- Require all resource extraction companies to disclose payments to, and relevant contractual arrangements with, governments and companies in all countries where they operate; to ensure the effective monitoring of compliance with the disclosure standards; and to establish and implement internationally recognised standards for company payments disclosure.
- Establish binding guidelines for public and multilateral export credit agencies such that they only provide subsidized credit and insurance for transactions with countries and companies who comply with accepted best practices regarding revenue and payments transparency. Moreover, the G8 should cooperate with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and regional development banks in ensuring compliance with the extractive industry disclosure standards among member countries and companies operating in their jurisdiction.
- Lend full high-level political support for and leadership to the UK-led Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), under which an international model of company payments and government revenues disclosure is being developed. The G8 governments should also provide a clear commitment to the fulfilment of the principles and objectives of the initiative.
- Provide technical and capacity building support to petroleum and mineral exporting countries for the implementation of socially responsible transparency regimes, particularly to civil society to enable public oversight over the management of the revenues from their resources.
The Publish What You Pay coalition stresses that the G8 governments have a clear obligation and opportunity to implement disclosure mechanisms for extractive company payments. It is in the self-interest of the G8 governments themselves that it is achieved, particularly to enhance energy security and the efficiency of international aid programmes, which are hampered by inadequate revenue reporting regimes in many resource-rich countries that receive this development assistance.
Key to corporate and government accountability is transparency: you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
You'll find more information at www.publishwhatyoupay.org
For an example of a well-managed system of getting natural resource values into the hands of the citizens, see this prize-winning essay by Alanna Hartzok
Also see the Niger Delta Fund Initiative
And see this example of corruption when there is no transparency
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?