By Kelvin Alohan
Liberia has achieved a “Moderate” score in Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation and received commendations from the organization’s Board for the progress it has made.
The 53rd EITI Board meeting noted that despite challenges related to its EITI internal governance and the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberia has used the EITI’s multi-stakeholder platform to meet public demand for transparency and accountability in the mining, oil and gas, agriculture and forestry sectors.
“Activity in the mining, oil and gas, forestry and agriculture sectors dominates the national economy of Liberia and plays a key role in the country’s economic development, accounting for 52% of GDP in 2019. While the country’s mining sector is largely driven by one large iron ore project, Liberia also has an extensive artisanal and informal mining sector. The agriculture and forestry sectors are the country’s largest private sector employers,” the EITI noted.
“I commend Liberia EITI for recovering from its governance crisis and resuming its efforts to use the EITI as a platform to bring about reform and debate in the extractive sector,” said Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair. “There are opportunities to build on these efforts by improving transparency around the award of extractive rights, the beneficial ownership of companies, contracts, and the operations of the national oil company,” she added.
Since 2020, Liberia EITI has overcome a governance crisis caused by deviations from rules related to the appointment of LEITI staff and of MSG members in 2018-2019.
However, the organisation noted that while Liberia has used its EITI implementation to publish comprehensive data on government extractive revenues, company disclosures could be further strengthened, adding that there is also an opportunity to strengthen the EITI’s role as an annual diagnostic of extractive industry governance.
Extractive360 reports that in February, Liberia launched the Opening Extractives programme with the aim to strengthen its disclosures of beneficial ownership data.
“There is scope for Liberian authorities to make greater use of the EITI to support reforms in this area and beyond, including in disclosures related to licensing, contracts and state participation”, the EITI further added.
Liberia’s next Validation exercise is scheduled to commence in July 2024.