Liberia: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Country Manger Stresses Need to Prioritize Liberia’s Interest in the Mining Sector
MONROVIA- Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Country Manager of Anglophone Africa, Michael Uzoigwe, has called on reporting companies and government ministries, agencies, and commissions (MACs) to prioritize the interest of Liberia and Liberians.
Mr. Uzoigwe made the remarks during a one-day technical workshop on the preparation of Liberia’s 13th and 14th EITI reports held in Monrovia.
According to Mr. Uzoigwe, he was concerned about how EITI can be more beneficial to Liberians and Liberia, while describing the reporting process as a core for Friday’s exercise.
Mr. Uzoigwe used the moment to call on the reporting institutions to ensure that the responses coming out of the extractive industries in Liberia can be used to benefit Liberians, stating “let’s try to do our best to contribute to this process.”
“There is a need to pay strong attention to national priorities and the yielding of Liberians and be mindful of the local environment in terms of what will be meaningful to Liberia and Liberians and we need to have this question at the back of our minds about how we can be innovative in the way EITI report is presented and the way data is collected,” he said.
He said reporting “is at the core of the EITI process but we have to be sure that the reporting process is payable and to have usable data our people can use.”
The event which brought together representatives of reporting companies and government ministries, agencies, and commissions was aimed at conducting a dry-run of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) reporting template coupled with working entities through the EITI reporting process.
Mr. Jeffrey Yates, head of Secretariat LEITI, for his part, gave the overview of the workshop said the workshop was aimed to provide reporting institutions with the platform to address challenges faced during the preparation of the last report and devise ways to remedy these challenges and enhance communication.
Mr. Yates said Liberia has a short period to produce the report and urged reporting companies and government ministries, agencies and commissions that they have up to the end of June to produce the 13th report.
Ekema A. Witherspoon, a member of the LEITI Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group adding, said the workshop is a regular gathering where the LEITI secretariat informs companies and reports to the companies on the reporting template that will be used.
“We hope everyone understands the LEITI reporting and finally accepts the template that has been developed by the Secretariat and the independent auditors. We are asking that you give your undivided attention to get the best,” Mr. Witherspoon who spoke on behalf of the chairperson said.
Mr. Witherspoon said LEITI has been through a tough time in the last few years and called on the reporting companies to speedily provide the information needed to put Liberia ahead.
“We want to ask for your speedy cooperation with the secretariat and the independent auditors so that we will be able to present our 13th and 14th reports and to ensure that we stay on course.
Let’s do this in the interest of Liberia and let’s leave from here prepared to work with the LEITI Secretariat and keep a perfect image.”