On Wednesday 29 June 2022 in Brazzaville, Florent Michel Okoko, Permanent Secretary of the National Committee of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)-Congo, led a workshop to popularise the 2019 and 2020 Reports to the national and international press.
Organised in collaboration with the Integrated Public Sector Reforms Project (PRISP/World Bank), the activity was attended by civil society, represented by Christian Mounzéo, chairman of the Africa Steering Committee of the international platform Publish What You Pay. It is part of the preparations for the Congo's dossier to be submitted to the Board of the International EITI, based in Oslo (Norway), from Friday 1 July 2022, as part of the country's third Validation.
This workshop aimed at raising citizens’ awareness on the EITI process and stimulating public debate on the data contained in the two Reports. In essence, the revenues generated by the extractive sector (hydrocarbons, mining and forestry) totalled CFAF 1,309,461 million in 2019. In 2020, these revenues were estimated at CFAF 735 billion 860 million. The extractive sector has not been spared the consequences of the closure of several companies due to the Coronavirus pandemic (2019-2020).
The two Reports indicate that, of the 22 companies that submitted EITI reporting forms in 2019, six did not comply with the agreed procedure for ensuring reliability and certification of data. These are WING WAH (Hydrocarbons); NEW AGE (Hydrocarbons); AOGC (Hydrocarbons); CIB-OLAM (Forestry); SICOFOR (Forestry); and ASIA CONGO (Industry). Of the twenty-five companies that submitted EITI reporting forms in 2020, four did not comply, including WING WAH; LUKOIL (Hydrocarbons); NEW AGE; and SOREMI (Mining).
Recommendations to the Government or extractive companies
The 2019 Report recommended the establishment of a public register or land registry system in the forestry sector; the acceleration of the establishment of a public register or land registry system in the mining sector; and the establishment of a public register of beneficial owners. The 2020 Report recommended accelerating the publication of the implementing legislation for the new Forestry Code; and the disaggregation of payments and revenues from the extractive sector by project.
Some of the journalists' interventions
Journalists' interventions focused on the impact of the EITI on the lives of ordinary Congolese; the failure to take into account the results of artisanal mining in diamond and stone quarries on the Congo River; the failure of some companies to comply with the procedure for declaring payments and revenues; the reason for Congo's suspension from the EITI in 2010; Congo's debt to traders; the use by the state of funds generated by the EITI Standard; the confidentiality clause; the aftermath of oil exploration in the Cuvette delta; etc.
For the record, the Republic of Congo joined the EITI in June 2004. It was admitted as an EITI Candidate country in 2007. It has had "Compliant" status since February 2013. Congo was first validated in 2017 against the 2016 EITI Standard. On 29 June 2018, the International EITI Board recognised that the Republic of Congo had made significant progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard. The second Validation against the 2016 EITI Standard began on 29 December 2019. On 11 September 2020, the International EITI Board agreed that the Republic of Congo has fully implemented six of the fifteen corrective actions agreed in the first Validation and that the country, overall, has made significant progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, as well as substantial improvements on several requirements. The Board decided that the Republic of Congo would have 18 months before the third Validation, which is due in July 2022.
The Press Office of the Ministry of Finance