Publish what you Pay PWYP

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Publish What You Pay PWYP is a global civil society coalition that helps citizens of resource-rich developing countries hold their governments accountable for the management of revenues from the oil, gas and mining industries. Natural resource revenues are an important source of income for governments of over 50 developing countries. When properly managed these revenues should serve as a basis for poverty reduction, economic growth and development rather than exacerbating corruption, conflict and social divisiveness … (full text about).

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Address: Publish What You Pay, c/o Open Society Foundation – London, 4th Floor, Cambridge House, 100 Cambridge Grove, London W6 0LE, UK;
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Mission: A global campaign for revenue transparency in the oil, gas & mining industries.

Despite billions of dollars of incoming revenues from oil, gas and mining extraction, citizens of more than 50 resource rich countries (1) around the world remain steeped in poverty. If governments managed these revenues transparently and effectively, they could serve as a basis for successful economic growth and poverty reduction. This has proved to be the exception rather than the rule.

Governments and other institutions that manage these resources are often weak and, in practice, unaccountable to the parliaments and citizens of their countries. Many resource-rich countries are kleptocracies, where officials rule by force to steal from the proceeds of natural resource extraction. The extractive industry is associated with high levels of corruption (2). Oil and mining companies have, on occasion, engaged in corrupt practices (e.g. payment of bribes) in order to secure contracts or to gain influence over public officials. Revenues from resource extraction are very often not disclosed by the governments or the companies involved; in some cases this information is a state secret. This lack of accountability facilitates embezzlement, corruption and revenue misappropriation. In extreme cases, access to resources can fuel and sustain national and regional conflicts, thereby weakening governments and institutions furthermore. Such disorder is exploited to facilitate further large-scale misappropriation of state assets.

The call for companies to “publish what you pay” and for governments to “publish what you earn” is a necessary first step towards a more accountable system for the management of natural resource revenues. If companies disclose what they pay, and governments disclose their receipts of such revenues, then members of civil society in resource-rich countries will be able to compare the two and thus hold their governments accountable for the management of this valuable source of income. Revenue transparency will also help civil society groups to work towards a democratic debate over the effective use and allocation of resource revenues and public finance in order to meet development objectives, improve public services, and redistribute income.

Mining, gas and oil companies cannot control how governments spend taxes, royalties and fees. But they do have a responsibility to disclose the payments they make so citizens can hold their governments accountable. Companies that fail to do so are complicit in the disempowerment of the people of the countries to which the resources belong. Transparency will strengthen companies’ social “licence to operate”, by demonstrating their economic contribution to society, and increase the likelihood that the revenues they pay to governments will be used for sustainable development – which creates a stable business environment – rather than being wasted or diverted by corruption, which exacerbates social divisions and can lead to weak and unstable states and conflict.

There is now wide international consensus in favour of increased transparency in the extractive sector as evidenced by, for example, the immense support from governments, companies, investors, financial institutions and civil society for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) (3) . Mandating disclosure of payments and revenues is consistent with this consensus and can be achieved by way of simple and logical adjustments to existing company law, accounting standards, stock exchange disclosure rules, and the lending conditions of international financial institutions, regional development banks, export credit agencies and private sector banks.

Accordingly, the Publish What You Pay coalition calls on: … (full text Mission).

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