Tuesday, 18 February 2014

EITI to report on industry red flags

An energy watchdog group set up to scrutinise the exploitation of Myanmar’s natural resources has announced it will initially concentrate on the “most problematic and profitable” sectors – oil, natural gas and mines.

The multi-stakeholder group, an association of representatives from the government, resource extraction companies and civil society, was formed on February 8 to compile reports under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which seeks to apply international standards to the exploitation of natural resources.

The group’s main role will be to publicise the income and tax payments of energy exploration firms operating in Myanmar, and report to the EITI, which Myanmar has applied to join. Reports will be published and audited by international experts.

However, MSG member U Tun Myint Aung said the group will not have enough time to study all the industries concerned in time for the 18-month reporting deadline.

“There are many sectors like oil, gas, forest resources, water resources, hydropower and so on. It is a lot,” he said.

In addition, EITI reports must cover 90 percent of the companies in the resource group.

“We are just starting this process and we are fairly sure we won’t be able to manage all [extractive] sectors immediately,” he said.

The group will examine government permits for resource exploration, total resource production, taxes and other income from production, the impact of production on the environment and how the government spends the income.

Deputy Minister for Finance U Maung Maung Thein will lead the multi-stakeholder group, with Deputy Minister for Energy U Myint Zaw as vice chair.

The 23-member committee also includes six other government officials, including the director generals from the ministries of finance, environmental conservation and forestry, mining, energy and home affairs, a director general from the Auditor General’s Office and the managing director of the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

It features six members from the private sector, including representatives from Petronas, Total and MPRL, and nine from civil society, including members of the 88 Generation, Paung Ku, Seinyaungso, Shwe Gas Movement, Dawei Development Association and Eco-Dev.

source: The Myanmar Times
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