Monday, May 26, 2014

Cameroon Determined to Maintain EITI ‘Compliant Country’ Status

Clare Short and Ousmane Mey
(NewsWatch Cameroon)—The Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey, chairman of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Cameroon has reaffirmed the government’s determination to transparently manage revenues from extractive industries.
Since gaining the status of compliance, the country is determined to maintained its status and remain a reference in transparency in the extractive industries sector, stakeholders say.
According to Mr. Ousmane Mey, the ‘compliant country’ status makes Cameroon's business climate more attractive to foreign investors.
The chairman of the EITI committee in Cameroon was speaking in Yaounde at a ceremony to celebrate the EITI ‘compliant country’ status of Cameroon last May 23, 2014.
The country adhered into the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2005 and was designated ‘compliant country’ on October 17, 2013 during a board of Director’s meeting in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast.
The initiative seeks to encourage countries with rich natural resources to manage these resources in a transparent manner so the populations rip full benefits.
“Cameroon took some time to achieve compliance. This means, they were not reporting according to the principles agreed internationally. But I have been impressed by the quality……it’s an impressive achievement”, Hon. Clare Short, president of the Board of Directors of EITI said.
By attaining the compliant country status of the EITI, the Board Chair said has opened up the sector.
“All over the world this sector tends to be closed the revenue from the extractive industries is not clear, the contracts are not clear, who gets the licenses is not clear”, Hon. Short said.
“The purpose of compliance is to have that openness so that the citizens of the country can know how much comes in from the extractive sector, how the revenue is being spent and whether it is well managed”, Hon. Short added.
According to Ndi Richard Tantoh, member of the national committee of EITI Cameroon, it took the country long to become compliant because some of the sectors were not included in their reports.
“We entered into the initiative it was new. The initiative itself is evolving, so we were learning by doing. Secondly we started with the petroleum sector alone, the EITI felt that the petroleum sector alone did not permit us to trace revenue from the extractive sector in an exhaustive manner”, Mr. Tantoh said.
Some of the issues according to the Mr. Tantoh are that EITI Cameroon had not communicated enough to a point where the population could already feel they are part of the discussions around issues of the extractive sector.
“The population should be able to organise themselves, so that they can call on the government to be more accountable with those resources-because that is the responsibility of each patriotic Cameroonian; to make sure that government is working in the interest of its people”.
The celebration of the EITI ‘compliant country’ status was an opportunity for Cameroon to demonstrate the quality of the commitment of the highest authorities of the state as well as of all stakeholders in the implementation of the EITI.
Prior to the celebration, Hon. Clare Short was received in audience by Prime Minister Philemon Yang on behalf of the Head of State Paul Biya.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

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