Publish What You Pay welcomes strong UK Government statement on extractive industry transparency

Source: PWYP International
Date: 11 Oct 2021

 

Publish What You Pay, the global civil society campaign for transparency in the extractive industries, warmly welcomed the strong stance on the European Union’s company reporting rules announced today by UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Minister Jo Swinson.

The UK Government announcement came after a meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister, the Business Minister and singer activist Bono, founder of the ONE campaign which is a member of the Publish What You Pay coalition. Among issues discussed at the meeting were new European Union reporting regulations for oil, gas and mining companies, currently being finalised by Member States and MEPs.

Nick Clegg said: “For far too long, the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backyards. …  There need to be strict new rules about how payments to developing countries from the oil, gas and mining industries are recorded. Shining a light on where this money is actually going will help people hold their governments to account over how this money is spent.”

Mr Clegg added: “The United States Government has raised the bar by publishing tough new rules that will apply to US listed companies. The European Union must now follow suit and the Coalition Government will be pushing for those rules to be matched in Brussels.”

Greeting the UK Government’s announcement, Publish What You Pay International Director Marinke van Riet commented: “Civil society is hugely encouraged by the Deputy Prime Minister’s and Business Minister’s public commitment to achieve a European reporting standard at least as strong as the new rules for extractive companies recently published in the US.”

Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Strong EU action to create a new global standard for transparency in the extractive industry can help these citizens hold their governments to account. I’m determined that the UK will play a leading role within the EU to make the most of this opportunity."

Publish What You Pay campaigners are urging all EU Member States to back reporting requirements for EU companies that match the rules recently confirmed for Section 1504 of the US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

This momentum builds on the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee vote in September which proposed an equally stringent rule and even suggested applying country by country reporting to other sectors.

France is also championing strong European rules. This commitment was reaffirmed by the French Presidency in a statement on 10 October: “France actively supports the adoption of an ambitious European directive aimed at strengthening financial transparency obligations in the mining and forestry industries.”

Publish What You Pay is pleased that the UK and France can now form a united front for strong transparency rules in Europe. Prime Minister David Cameron also expressed his support for country- and project-level reporting by oil, gas and mining companies in a much reported speech in Lagos, Nigeria, in July 2011.

Publish What You Pay said today that it now hoped the UK and France would work closely together to convince all other EU Member States of the importance of a truly effective reporting regime. This would help fight corruption, secret deals and mismanagement of revenues in the world’s oil, gas and mining industries and bring major benefits to developing country populations, investors and the companies themselves.

Ms van Riet added: “Key requirements for extractive sector transparency in the EU are project-by-project reporting of payments in addition to country-level disclosure, defining ‘project’ according to the legal agreement between company and host country, a low threshold for disclosing payments, and no exemptions from reporting – all in line with the US requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act.”

 

For further information, please contact:

Joseph Williams, Publish What You Pay International Secretariat, jwilliams@publishwhatyoupay.org

+44 (0)7775 751170

Miles Litvinoff, Publish What You Pay UK

mlitvinoff@pwypuk.org ,

+44 (0)20 8965 9682

+44 (0)7984 720103