President George Weah has begun the process of constituting Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSG), 13-days after its suspension from the mother organization, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), an Executive Mansion release has said.
The suspension came as a result after LEITI fail to publish the EITI report for the fiscal period ending June 2016 within the July 1, 2018 deadline.
The decision, according to EITI, followed a request by the Liberian government to extend the reporting deadline; set by the EITI Standard, which they say did not meet the criteria for granting an extension.
The move by President Weah, according to political observers, is to ensure that LEITI’s reputation and position as an independent institution that promote the open, and accountable management of extractive resources are restored.
According to the release, President Weah has asked 16 organizations from among civil society, concessionaires and development partners to nominate representatives in the formation of the MSG.
Those institutions include civil society organizations such as Publish What You Pay, Liberia Labor Congress, National Civil Society Network of Liberia, Press Union of Liberia, and Liberia Gold and Diamond Association.
Others others are concessionaires, such as Golden Veroleum Liberia, Western Cluster Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia, Liberia Timber Association and Firestone Liberia.
The rest are bilateral and development partners, United Nations Development Program, German Technical Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit), African Development Bank, European Union, World Bank and United States Embassy near Monrovia.
“The fact that Liberia has missed its deadline for reporting on a 2015/2016 fiscal period, which ended in June 2016, cannot be attributed to a seven months old government,” the government said in a statement recently right after the suspension.
“As a government, we like to emphatically state for the record that under President Weah, we are committed to the ideals, and core values of the EITI, and will do everything to ensure compliance for reinstatement,” the government’s statement said.
However, EITI’s international Board has announced that it will lift the suspension once Liberia’s outstanding Report is endorsed by the MSG and published within six months of the deadline.
The EITI Board said the extension requests had not been endorsed by Liberia’s MSG as the group has not been reconstituted since the end of its term in October, 2017.
The Board has, however, called on the government to reconstitute the MSG and revitalize the implementation of the EITI in partnership with industries and civil society organizations.