Solomon Islands has voluntary withdrew from implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) but assured the work of EITI will continue in the country.
Honourable Manaseh D Sogavare, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Finance and Treasury has informed the EITI International Board of the Government decision to withdraw in a letter send this week.
Honourable Sogavare, explained that SI withdrawal does not mean the EITI work in the country will stop. That the SI EITI Office will maintain the primary role within the Government for collecting financial data related to the minerals sector and continue to unilaterally disclose revenue payments received for extractive operations in the country by producing annual reports and will continue to improve our EITI reporting.
Furthermore, the Office will continue to institutionalize EITI principles within Government Ministries and during the formulation of the new Mines and Mineral Regime and will continue its efforts to engage stakeholders in public conversation during the reform process.
The Government explains the reasons for withdrawal are firstly our changed of domestic situation which result to EITI reporting principles may no longer fully accommodates. This include the country’s current mining activities are concentrating mainly on prospecting after the closer of the biggest and only mining operation at Gold Ridge Mine in 2014 and only one small bauxite mine in operation on Rennell Island.
Secondly, the current Government’s policy direction for the mining sector is focused on reforming the existing Mines and Mineral Act, since the current legal regime is outdated
The Government explained that in the near future when we put in place our updated policies and legal framework that could accommodate EITI requirements, and when key mining operations in the country resume, we will consider reapplying for EITI candidacy.
Meanwhile, Vincent Obimae, Head of the Solomon Islands EITI Office said our withdrawal is purposely to give us time to re-organise and address legal issues holding Solomon Islands from producing a successful EITI report and progress toward a compliance country in future.
Mr. Obimae said the work of the EITI office here in Honiara has progressed well since the office was opened in early 2014. These include the first EITI report was produced in June 2014. The report covers receipts from the minerals sector from the period, 2012 and 2013. A second EITI report covering the 2014 activities was produce in 2015, and a 3rd report covering 2015 fiscal year was produced in 2016. There are also other provincial consultations and stakeholders’ trainings were conducted since then
In coming months, we will be working tirelessly on a numbers of legal matters already identified to meet the EITI reporting requirement and standards and to promote transparency and accountability in the mineral sector, said Obimae.