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Business

MSG to pursue transparency initiative

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The multi stakeholder group (MSG) governing the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) yesterday said it would pursue the institutionalization of the transparency initiative through legislation to compel mining, and oil and gas companies to disclose information regarding their operations and taxes paid to the government.

The EITI, which was established in 2003, is a global standard for transparency in the reporting of revenues generated from the exploitation of natural resources by the extractive industry.

The Philippines was accepted as a candidate country of the EITI in May 2013 and published its first country report in December 2014.

 “As the economy grows and expands, we need to monitor the extractive industries further,” said Finance assistant secretary Ma. Teresa Habitan in a briefing yesterday.

“Among our next steps, PH-EITI will be advocating the institutionalization of the initiative through legislation. We will be pursuing the amendment of non-disclosure clauses in the National Internal Revenue Code and the Omnibus Investments Code,” she said.

Forty mining companies and 11 oil and gas companies participated in the creation of the 2014 report that covers the tax payments made by these companies to the government in 2012.

The PH-EITI reported that total reconciled revenue streams from participating companies amounted to P52.7 billion, with unreconciled amounts of P58.2 million.

These companies have signed the taxpayer’s waiver issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), allowing the government to use their tax and royalty declarations in the EITI country report.

Signing the waiver expressed free consent to the EITI initiative and prevents the companies from pursuing legal action against the BIR for using their declarations in the report as the National Revenue Code prohibits the BIR from disclosing tax information.

Several firms declined to participate in the report for various reasons.

Habitan, also the PH-EITI focal person, said the MSG would also “work towards improving the monitoring processes for social expenditures and environmental funds.”

“We hope to improve the coverage of future reports for more in-depth study. And we wish to recommend the EITI process to other industries and agencies,” she added.

Habitan said the PH-EITI is meant to eventually become the main source of data on the Philippine extractive industry.

“There is a lot of data available, but it is scattered. So through this report, we can better inform policy makers,” she said.

The MSG governing the PH-EITI sets the policies and direction for the implementation of the initiative in the country,

It is composed of government representatives from the Department of Finance, Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

The civil society is represented by members of the academe and organizations such as Bantay Kita.

The extractive industry, meanwhile, are represented by members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and Petroleum Association of the Philippines.

The international community participates through the EITI International Board and the World Bank, which manages the EITI Multi-Donor Trust.

 

 

 

BANTAY KITA

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE

CHAMBER OF MINES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

COMPANIES

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

EITI

ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

INTERNATIONAL BOARD AND THE WORLD BANK

MULTI-DONOR TRUST

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