First Report on Extractive Industries’ Revenues Due This Month

By Moe Myint 7 December 2015

RANGOON — Burma will submit its inaugural Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report by the end of the month, detailing the financials of dozens of companies across three of the country’s extractive sectors, according to presidential advisor Zaw Oo, who on Monday described the expected filing as a “present” for the next government.

The report from the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), a tripartite body of representatives from civil society, extractive industries firms and the government, will include data on licensing agreements, company profits and taxation paid to the government, among other financial details.

The filing of the report by year’s end will represent “a good present for the new age,” according to Zaw Oo, referring to the transfer of power to a new government in 2016.

According to the MSG, data for the 2013-14 fiscal year from 13 oil and gas companies representing 100 percent of revenue from that sector; 30 gems companies representing 67 percent of income from jade and gems emporia; and 11 firms representing 50 percent of mining sector revenues will be included in the report, with figures from the included enterprises totaling US$3.1 billion, about one-third of the value of total exports for the three sectors in 2013-14.

“Myanmar will become the first country to include its gems sector, among EITI implementing countries globally,” Zaw Oo said.

The international accounting firm Moore Stephens reconciled data provided by both the government and corporations to ensure the forthcoming report meets with EITI standards.

Globally, 31 countries are considered EITI compliant, and Burma is among 18 other nations regarded as “candidate countries” working toward compliance with the protocol.

One of the MSG members, Dr. Kyaw Thu, said the report would mark only the first step in a process aimed at better, more equitable resource governance in Burma.

“Transparency is the initiation of accountability” he said. “The long process is just beginning.”

The MSG includes nine representatives from civil society organizations, six representatives from oil, gas and mining companies, and six representatives from the government.

Maung Maung Thein, Burma’s deputy finance minister, told reporters at a press conference at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) on Monday that it would be the responsibility of the next government to use the report to craft better policies on natural resources’ management.

Burma is required to publish its first EITI report by January 2016, after it became an EITI candidate country on July 2, 2014. A second EITI report must be published in early 2017 and, pending a review of adherence to seven transparency standards by the Norway-based International EITI Board, Burma could be recognized as EITI compliant by mid-2017.

“We believe we will pass the exam,” Zaw Oo said.