Resource transparency group accepts Myanmar as candidate

Myanmar was approved as an official “Candidate” country with global resource transparency group Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at its board meeting in Mexico on July 2.

Joining the international group has been a public goal of the current Myanmar administration, aiming to increase transparency in a notoriously opaque sector. The EITI is now composed of 45 countries, and membership will require Myanmar to disclose and improve how oil, gas and mineral resources are governed, with the first report due in 18 months, the EITI said in a press release.

“The government has made a commitment to the people of Myanmar: that they will have the right [to] see how these resources are managed. I encourage the government to make use of EITI as a tool to inspire wider reforms and to enshrine transparency in government institutions,” said Clare Short, the chair of EITI.

The reporting requirements mean Myanmar must publish accounts showing all payments and increasing transparency of licence holders, production data, state–owned enterprise operations, and allocation of all revenues from its natural resources.

Being a part of EITI, Myanmar government also committed to map and identify beneficial ownerships of companies operating in Myanmar. It must also disclose details of the 2013–14 oil and gas bidding round and provide contract transparency.

“EITI gives us a useful tool to design our escape from resources curse. It is important for ongoing reforms. We pledge to overcome many challenges facing implementation of EITI standards,” said U Zaw Oo, the national coordinator of Myanmar EITI.

Myanmar needs to meet all requirements set out by the EITI within three years to become EITI Complaint, beginning with its first EITI report due by January 2, 2016. If the EITI report is not published by deadline, Myanmar could be suspended from the group.

“This milestone is a testament to a new level of national dialogue on extractive industries in Myanmar. We look forward to continuing collaboration of Myanmar [with] EITI [and the] multi–stakeholder group,” said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank country manager, in the statement.

Myanmar applied to EITI early this year as part of President U Thein Sein’s drive to increase transparency in the oil and gas sector.


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