The Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) over the weekend held a one-day technical workshop aimed at enhancing effectiveness in the preparation of the 6th EITI Report for Liberia.
The report which preparation begins shortly, would capture all material payments of taxes, royalties, land/surface rentals and other administrative fees paid to, and acknowledged by the Government of Liberia by companies in the oil, mining, forestry and agricultural sectors for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
The workshop allowed representatives from concerned companies in the extractive sectors and relevant government agencies to review and modify existing LEITI reporting templates, incorporating new taxes that were introduced during the current reporting period.
During the workshop, stakeholders identified and sought remedies to several challenges affecting the reporting process.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, LEITI Head of Secretariat Konah D. Karmo said public disclosure of taxes and revenues from the extractive sectors is a legal requirement. He warned that companies and government agencies failing to comply with this requirement would be sanctioned in accordance with the laws.
Under the LEITI Multi-stakeholders Steering Group Regulations of 2009, sanction regime to address non-compliance to EITI reporting ranges from demand to comply, public censure, notice of intent to affect operations, imposition of fines and recommendation for revocation of license.
Mr. Karmo said the LEITI Secretariat would not relent on punishing companies and government agencies that will hinder the public's rights to know proceeds from the extraction of their resources.
For her part, Deputy Commissioner for Revenue of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Decontee King Sackie called for inter-agency collaboration to review and address challenges in the EITI reporting as well as other issues affecting the collection of relevant revenues due the State.
The preparation of EITI reports which contain disclosure of reconciled data of taxes paid by companies and revenues received by the government is one of the core functions of LEITI.
Participants came from the ministries of Lands, Mines and Energy and Agriculture, Forestry Development Authority, National Oil Company of Liberia, General Auditing Commission and Liberia Revenue Authority.