Opening Government: Extractive Industries13/09/2011
Contributor: Revenue Watch Institute
More than fifty countries depend on oil, gas and hard minerals as the most important source of government and export revenues. Large-scale fisheries and leasing of agriculture lands are also becoming important sources of revenue. Perhaps in no other sectors are economic outcomes and the openness of government more closely linked. Sub-soil minerals are deemed public assets in most parts of the world. Fisheries, lands and forests can also be public assets. As the government is managing such resources in trust for the people, the people have a right to know what is being done with their natural wealth.
Establishing clear transparency and accountability requirements will increase policy efficiency, reduce opportunities for self-dealing and diversion of revenues for personal gain, raise the level of public trust and lower the risk of social conflict. An informed and engaged public can hold the government to account, but also help ensure that complex, large-scale projects meet government standards for environmental and social protection as well as revenue generation. The overarching goal is comprehensive transparency and accountability in the governance of natural resources from the decision to extract to the granting of concessions, the collection of revenues and the management of resource revenues. Producing, importing and investing countries have a shared interest in advancing open government in natural resource management.