Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI)

16 July 2020

EITI Implementation in PNG and its potential impact on improving governance in the Extractive sector

Published: July 16, 2020

Head of PNGEITI National Secretariat Lucas Alkan has commended the efforts of the PNGEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) for implementing the EITI Standard over the past 6 years however, called on MSG to utilise EITI’s full potential to improve governance in the sector.

Speaking on the eve of PNGs second validation and during the COVID19 MSG Constituent briefings, Alkan reiterated that PNGs implementation of the Global EITI Standard has gained favourable results so far with the overwhelming support from the PNG MSG, however still a great potential to improve governance in the mining and petroleum sector.

“Our decision to sign up to implement the EITI had opened the door for citizens to question the government and industry on how past and current mining, oil and gas deals are best tailored to contribute to implementing the Government’s development plans and agendas,” Alkan said.

PNG joined 53 other mineral wealthy countries around the world in 2013 and like many implementing countries, is working on mainstreaming a lot of the international EITI principles and requirements.

It is a journey of continuous improvement and most recently, in 2018, the PNG Government came up with a National Policy on Transparency and Accountability that set the framework for EITI implementation in this country.

Alkan acknowledged public sentiments surrounding the debate on Resource Extraction and National Development.

“Citizens have become sceptical that the extraction of these rich mineral wealth would translate into tangible service delivery, funding education and health programs, invested in rundown infrastructures and so forth for a better future for all,” Alkan said.

Photo: The PNGEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group during the first quarter meeting last month (June). The Multi-Stakeholder Group comprises representatives from the government, the extractive companies and the civil society organisations.

Alkan: Transparency mechanisms must be considered and built into project agreements and MOA reviews

As the government proceeds with preparation for negotiating the Wafi Golpu project, the Woodlark and Kainantu Gold Mines MOA reviews and other projects in the pipeline, it will be interesting to see how these negotiations take place and how agreements are entered into.

Head of National Secretariat Lucas Alkan made the remarks following the government’s recent announcement in the media about the upcoming project MOA reviews.

“In these project development process, transparency mechanisms must be considered and built into these project agreements and the MOA reviews,” Alkan said.

Alkan said that the Government’s commitment to implementing EITI will not increase transparency overnight, however, it will assist the government to manage the extractive sector in a more inclusive and transparent manner.

He added that highlighting transparency will also assist in minimising public speculations and distrust towards the government.

“The EITI framework works to assist in bringing various sectors of the economy together and builds trust amongst them and creates a platform for these issues to be discussed so that solutions could be found together for better management of the sector.

Now that PNG is an EITI implementing country, the Government should not lose traction on EITI implementation. It stands to gain from implementing EITI because of the potential governance gains associated with it.

Alkan said that PNG still has a lot of work to do when it comes to citizen engagement.

“According to the World Bank’s World Governance Index 2018 edition, PNG scored very low on the “voice and accountability” indicator which indicates weak performance,” he said.

“As an EITI implementing country, mining and petroleum impacted communities and civil societies have a platform to access information and constructively engage with companies and the government on resource governance issues,” Alkan said.

File photo: Members of the PNGEITI and Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) with (centre) Huon Gulf Open MP Hon. Ross Seymour, in 2018. After an outreach information session conducted for the stakeholders of the Wafi-Golpu project. The outreach was conducted by PNGEITI in preparation for MRA Mining Development Forum which was held later in the same year.

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