Myanmar was accepted as a “candidate” country to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) last week, a first step towards becoming a member of a global initiative aimed at bringing greater transparency and accountability to the oil, gas and mining sector.
The Southeast Asian country now joins 44 countries that have signed up to the EITI Standard, which requires extensive disclosure and measures to improve accountability in how oil, gas and minerals are governed.
According to the EITI board decision, Myanmar needs to meet all of the requirements in the EITI Standard within three years to become EITI compliant, including publishing the first EITI Report by January 2, 2016.
If the EITI Report is not published by this deadline, Myanmar will be suspended, the EITI board said.
Clare Short, chair of the EITI, said Myanmar’s admission to the EITI comes at a critical time as the country is now opening up its vast natural resources for foreign investment.
“By implementing the EITI, the government has made a commitment to the people of Myanmar: that they will have the right see how these resources are managed.”
She encouraged the government to make use of the EITI as a tool to inspire wider reforms and to enshrine transparency in government institutions.
Myanmar will now implement the EITI Standard, meaning the country will publish accounts showing all payments the government receives from its extractives sector.
Alongside these figures, Myanmar will make public information about the licence holders, production data, state-owned enterprises and the allocation of the revenues from its natural resources.
As part of Myanmar’s EITI, the government has also committed to map and identify beneficial ownership of the companies operating in Myanmar, disclose details of the 2013-14 oil and gas bidding round, and explore the methodology and extent of contract transparency.
Zaw Oo, the national coordinator of Myanmar EITI, said: “We deeply appreciate the decision of the EITI Board, which recognises our determination to transform Myanmar to democratic and peaceful country.
“EITI gives us a useful tool to design our escape from the resource curse; and it is an important catalyst for ongoing reforms.”
He pledged to overcome many challenges facing the implementation of EITI Standards and mainstreaming the government’s work in broader reform framework.
Kanthan Shankar, country manager, Myanmar office of the World Bank, congratulated Myanmar government, civil society and industry operators on achieving EITI candidacy and said this milestone is a “testament” to the new level of national dialogue on extractive industries in Myanmar.
“We are pleased to have been part of the process so far, and we look forward to continuing the collaboration with the Myanmar EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group and the development partners who have supported the process,” he said.