Workshops on Extractive Industries and the Role of Parliamentarians

Workshops on Extractive Industries and the Role of Parliamentarians

For the extractive industry to act as a vector for sustainable development, a strong involvement of legislators in overseeing the government action is required. This was the key message the Parliamentary Centre delivered in Guyana (December 2nd, 2016) and in Trinidad & Tobago (December 5th, 2016) where workshops for parliamentarians were organized with the support of the High Commission of Canada in Trinidad & Tobago. Jean-Paul Ruszkowski, President and CEO of the Parliamentary Centre, and Oscar Schiappa-Pietra, a Peruvian expert on extractive sector governance, led discussions about the role of parliament in the governance of the extractive sector and the EITI (Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative) implementation process.

In Guyana, parliamentarians are mainly concerned about the management of potential revenues from new oil and gas discoveries, and how to deal with short term demands for improved services versus long term investments. Of importance is also the impact of the extractive sector on the country’s indigenous people. The workshop stressed the need to update the National Development Plan in order to address challenges brought by oil and gas exploration, and the importance of the EITI process to ensure transparency.

Trinidad & Tobago, for its part, has substantial experience exploiting its oil resources and investing the derived fiscal revenues. The EITI National Commission operates with efficiency and recognizes the importance of involving legislators in the process. The main concern the workshop brought up was the necessity for legislation that includes the EITI process and the attached commitments in the long term, which makes it obligatory for the government to disclose all payments by companies in this sector and report on all its expenses resulting from extractive industries revenue.

The workshops brought together parliamentarians from both the governing coalition and the opposition, civil society representatives and other stakeholders such as the Trinidad & Tobago EITI Steering Committee. They were successful in raising awareness of the possible steps toward a more transparent management of the extractive industries based on each country’s special circumstances.

Please click here to see the Trinidad & Tobago EITI report for 2014 and 2015.