Increasing transparency as well as business and civic engagement in government contracting are powerful ways to craft better agreements, improve public services, deter fraud and corruption, build trust and promote a more competitive business environment. A new report from NRGI and the Open Contracting Partnership details how to do it.
NRGI set out to collect total oil, gas and mining revenue data for the countries included in the Resource Governance Index to find out how many dollars flow to governments that mismanage the handling of their natural resources.
Resource-rich Latin American countries did experience high rates of economic growth and diminished poverty and inequality during the boom years. On the surface, this would appear to strengthen arguments that extractive industries are key to progress, especially in resource-rich areas, despite their negative environmental impact. Nevertheless, a closer look shows that things are a bit more complicated.
Last year’s meeting in Cape Town was overshadowed by pessimism in the wake of tumbling commodity prices and organizers tried to boost morale by encouraging participants to look “beyond the cycle.” But this year the buzz word for multilaterals was sustainability.
Since 2013, the EITI Standard has “encouraged” public disclosure of contracts. And while it is difficult to attribute causality to policy change, since the release of the 2013 EITI Standard, nine new countries released contracts, and nine enacted laws that require contract disclosure.
It has been notoriously difficult for citizens in resource-rich countries to lay hands on extractive industry contracts and licenses between their governments and private sector extractive companies. But that seems to be changing.