International Tax Review: Can you
tell us about the latest developments in your work at the
Clare Short: The EITI remains committed to
bring about transparency around the revenues that governments
are receiving from natural resources. People have the right to
know how much their government is receiving from their
In the past six years, more than 30 countries have started
disclosing revenues through the EITI. This information has
shone a light on the question of how these revenues are being
managed, but the EITI was founded on the belief that
transparency would lead to enhanced accountability. We have
more to do to enhance accountability.
ITR: Why are the extractive industries, over any
other, being focussed on for introducing the reporting of
payments to governments?
CS: Natural resources are different from
other goods. They cannot be replaced, the extraction of them
has environmental costs and in most countries they belong to
the government, or rather, their citizens.
Many governments are receiving big payments from special
taxes on oil, gas and mining operations. Yet, in many countries
these resources are a curse rather than a blessing and tend to
be linked to corruption, inequality and proneness to
Secondly, the extractives sector is huge. It accounts for
around 7% of the world''s GDP. And even more importantly, many
countries - both in the north and in the south - are heavily
dependent on revenues from this sector. If only this resource
could be better managed, millions could be lifted out of
ITR: Could the model of EITI reporting
you’re promoting for the extractive industries be
expanded to cover companies in all sectors?
CS: The EITI methodology is flexible, so
countries can chose to apply it to additional sectors, as
In Togo they are applying it to the water sector and in
Liberia to forestry and agriculture. I think we will start to
see more examples like that of Togo and Liberia, but EITI
itself will remain focused on the need for transparency in oil,
gas and mining.
ITR: How much consultation and dialogue do you have
CS: The EITI is a coalition between
governments, extractives companies and civil society
organisations. It is built on the belief that the best
solutions are reached when all stakeholders sit around the same
Today more than 60 of the largest oil, gas and mining
companies support the EITI on the international level, and are
part of the governance of the EITI globally as are
representatives of civil society across the world. The
accountability to taxpayers comes at country level. Each EITI
country has a local coalition supervising the reporting process
and has a duty to disseminate the results.
ITR: Are businesses worried about too much
CS: I have heard no such complaint.
Companies collect the figures for their own purposes, it is not
much of a task to ask their auditor to certify the figures that
are forwarded for the EITI report.
In general, large extractive companies with a long-term
investment strategy will say to us that they are eager to
disclose what they pay in taxes. Doing so, people can see how
much their company is contributing to society. This builds
trust and better relations with citizens and communities, which
in turn improves business in the long-term.