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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has reaffirmed Government’s commitment to promoting transparent resource governance by supporting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process in Liberia.
President Sirleaf’s renewed assurance to the resource governance process was made on Tuesday during a brief meeting with LEITI Acting Head of Secretariat Konah D. Karmo; Technical Officer Beneta Ackah and Communications Officer Samson Wonnah at her Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia.
The meeting was arranged following LEITI’s presentation of the 5th EITI Report of Liberia to the President.
Briefing the Liberian leader on the status of the EITI process in Liberia at the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Karmo highlighted several progress made by the Initiative including publication of the 5th EITI Report and LEITI’s recent efforts to disclose the beneficial ownership of extractive companies in the country to ensure that Liberians truly benefit from their resources.
Regarding the EITI report, Mr. Karmo said, the LEITI has strived to improve the contents of Liberia’s reports significantly overtime, with great amount of relevant data and contextual information added to ensure that disclosure is comprehensive and the information is understood by citizens.
He noted that beyond reporting taxes and revenue data, the current report also tracked the allocation of the revenue; the full amount due as taxes to be paid by the companies, In-kind Contributions from the companies and contextual information such as the extractive sector’s contribution to the national GDP and overall employment.
He noted that the 5th Report reveals that the extractive companies due government over Thirty Million United States Dollars in taxes and called for collaboration with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) in claiming and collecting these needed revenues.
The LEITI Boss however noted that despite these gains, the Agency is faced with several challenges including funding, logistics and staffing. He disclosed that budgetary allocations for the LEITI have declined drastically over the past years.
Mr. Karmo called on the government and other stakeholders to address these issues particularly given that Liberia faces its second validation by the International EITI Secretariat in 2015.
Responding to these concerns, President Sirleaf said her government will commit everything it takes to sustain the EITI process in Liberia. She said basic issues raised, including implementation of recommendations from the Post Award Process Audit Report launched by the LEITI in May 2013, will be discussed and addressed urgently.