The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has overhauled one of its main tools for promoting voluntary transparency among its members to include a new pillar covering natural resource revenue transparency. NRGI worked with the IMF to make the overall Fiscal Transparency Code and its new pillar more robust. NRGI provided three substantial written submissions, participated in a civil society forum to discuss recommendations, and engaged IMF officials directly. While there remains some room for improvement in the code, its final text, published in 2019, reflects many of NRGI’s recommendations. It:
stresses the importance of open contracting procedures for license allocation.
calls for the identification of beneficial owners of companies holding licenses.
describes reporting on payments to governments at the project level “an established international norm.”
recognizes the importance of transparency in commodity trading and recognizes that disclosing payments by traders is well within reach of countries and companies.
calls for publication of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) and accompanying management plans and reports.
reinforces existing standards and requirements around state-owned natural resource companies from other key actors like EITI and the OECD.
The new code is a win for transparency, and will serve as an important tool for the IMF to help countries spot weaknesses in their resource revenue management.