On Sunday 29 June 2014, Solomon Islands became the first country in the Pacific region and 41 globally to meet the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standard by releasing its first EITI report. The report reconciles the payments made by extractive companies to Solomon Islands Government (SIG) against those received by SIG during 2012 and 2013.
The report was produced by an independent auditor from abroad and then endorsed by the Solomon Islands Extractive Industries National Stakeholder Group (SIEINSG) in a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office last week. The Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo Prime Minister acknowledged the significant efforts of the SIEINSG, reporting companies and SIG agencies to progress the EITI and deliver the report and thanked them for their tireless efforts. “Solomon Islands faced challenges of capacity and resources, but believes in the ideals of transparency underpinned by the EITI which pushes it to this landmark publication” said the Prim Minister.
Anyone who wishes to read the report can visit the Reports section of the website.
The EITI standard is based on a simple but powerful concept that ensures the money mining companies say they have paid to the government, is actually equal to the money the government says it has received from them. While the initiative is led by the government all decisions are made in active and meaningful partnership with civil society and industry representatives.
The EITI is currently governed by a multi-stakeholder working group known as Solomon Islands Extractive Industries National Stakeholder Group (SIEINSG). SIEINSG consists of representatives from Extractive Industries, Government and Civil Society.
Solomon Islands started the process of joining EITI in June 2011 when Cabinet considered and approved the EITI framework. The former Minister of Finance (now Prime Minister) then also in 2011 announced the government’s intention to implement EITI in Honiara and again during the EITI workshop in Dili.
In January 2012, the Solomon Islands Extractive Industry National Stakeholder Group was formed. The parties signed the Memorandum of Understanding, put together a work plan and submitted its application to the EITI Board. In June 2012, Solomon Islands became a candidate. With the support of the World Bank, the country continues to implement the requirements for compliance.
The benefit that the report will bring to the country is it will make public the information on revenues that companies extracting our natural resources paid to government. The mining industry of the Solomon Islands is currently at an early stage of development but has the potential to become the single largest component of GDP in the future, contributing to government finances and foreign exchange earnings.
The EITI will ensure a new and systematic way of working together between the government, Extractive Industries and Civil Societies to provide transparency and accountability to Solomon Islands.
Following the successful release of the report, the SIEINSG and other relevant stakeholders will take part in a two day EITI workshop facilitated by the World Bank. The Prime Minister acknowledged that Solomon Islands EITI was significantly funded by the World Bank and thanked its staff for the assistance they provided throughout the process. The Prime Minister also thanked the EITI International Secretariat who have provided invaluable support and guidance that has secured the delivery of this first report.