Institutionalising Transparency in the Extractives Sector in PNG
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has taken a global lead in management of its extractives sector by making transparency and accountability official government policy, and introducing new mechanisms to suppress corruption and earn public trust.
Supported by ASI, in April 2019, the Cabinet of PNG adopted a new Policy, which will institutionalise the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative standard in PNG for the long-term. ASI is now helping draft a law to establish an Extractive Industries Transparency Commission.
The Policy goes beyond simply encoding the EITI Standard in a policy framework, to set international norms, principles and rules in the national context of PNG. EITI data is linked to anti-corruption efforts, and, for example, any discrepancies identified by the Commission must be investigated by the relevant government body.
Linkages of EITI data to core government operations are further supported by requiring continuous reporting of key company payments as well as stipulating that data up to at least the previous year must be disclosed and reconciled. EITI reports will be reviewed by the Auditor-General’s Office. This level of disclosure means that EITI data will be mainstreamed within government while supporting capacity development in public financial management. The Policy also requires that EITI data is used as a diagnostic to monitor data produced by government agencies regarding the extractive sector, ensuring that mainstreaming also includes continuous raising of data standards.
The policy goes beyond the existing 2016 EITI Standard by requiring both contract transparency and environmental reporting: all relevant environmental reports (such as social and environmental impact assessments) must be publicly available.
Through this innovative combination of international standards and local contextualisation, PNG is set to dramatically improve standards of transparency and accountability in the mining, oil and gas sectors, and become a leader in transparency standards in the Asia-Pacific region.