Oil Revenue Transparency Workshop Concludes In Norway

Rev. James Ninrew addressing participants in Oslo, Norway. He said the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is the best way for transparency and accountability. [Luk Riek Nyak]

The workshop was organized by Publish What You Pay Norway (PWYP Norway).

PWYP Norway believes that resource countries, home countries, societies, markets and investors benefits most if tax havens are avoided, taxes and dividends are paid and companies are transparent towards constituents

Frian Aarsnes, State Authorized Public Accountant and Chairman of the Board of PWYP Norway said “there is Massive problem affecting not only resource rich countries, but actually the entire global economy that Resource rich countries are supporting the supply side.

He said that Markets (people that buy) are on the demand side and countries with large populations that are rich create the market and that US and EU are creating a large part of the markets for extractive companies because they have both large and rich populations.

He added that “Profits are held away from both resource-rich countries and countries creating markets alike – they are to a greater and greater extent channeled away into tax havens”.

Aarnes concluded that due to lack of balanced government regulation, there exists today a situation where companies that use tax havens to reduce their tax burden through capital flight out of countries with resources or markets are effectively using monopolistic methods to create more wealth for themselves than their competitors.

Mona Thowsen, the Secretary General, Publish What You Pay Norway said the world’s resource rich countries should adopt and sign up to Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative instead of putting their own resources at risk as this is what Norway is doing today.

To plan and facilitate that companies do not pay tax has become a global and lucrative business and lawyers have a duty of confidentiality…the confidentiality springs from the best interest of society and lawyers shall safeguard rule of law in the society.

However, she said confidentiality also has a different and unintended effect that it is necessary to shed light as companies can claim client confidentiality to protect themselves against government insight into activities and transactions, transaction routes and company structures.

The conference organized by PWYP Norway has brought 25 participants from the six resource rich but poor countries in Africa including South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique and Liberia to collectively push for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Transparency in Africa and to the world with the Theme “Resources for Development”.

The team has also held meeting with the Norwegian parliamentarians and government officials and requesting them to support the initiative of EITI so that Africa dream of resources as a blessing become in reality.

Rev. James Ninrew, PWYP Coalition interim chairman said EITI is the best way for transparency and accountability and would improve the Government of South Sudan’s transparency system if implemented.

South Sudan participants said the new country is willing to sign up for EITI although little is known about transparency and how the government can enact laws to governance tax payment by the oil companies to the government.

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