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Vice President Office and SLEITI MSG Agree on 2020 Work Plan

The Office of the Vice President and the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI), Multi-stakeholder group ( MSG), have concluded a two-day strategic retreat in Kenema. Representatives from the Sierra Leone Chamber of Mines, civil society groups under the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives ( NACE), and senior government officials from National Minerals Agency , Corporate Affairs Commission, Audit Service, Ministries of Mines and Finance, National Revenue Authority, Petroleum Directorate, and other key agencies and departments were also part of the engagement. 

Among others, investigating discrepancies of the 2017 and 2018 Report, Multi-stakeholder group governance, finalizing the MSG's memorandum of understanding, auditing surface rent expenditures, and Beneficial Ownership Disclosure were key on the retreat agenda. 

The two-day retreat according to the SLEITI National Coordinator Mina Horace was  to discuss in "greater detail a range of remedial actions from previous reports' recommendations as well as corrective measures from the 2018 validation". Furthermore, some of the 'new requirements' introduced in 2016 Standard were yet to be implemented given their financial or legislative implications. She added. 

The Minister of State, Office of the Vice President, and MSG Chair, Francess Piagie Alghali explained to mining companies and Civil society representatives that H.E. President Julius Maada Bio has made several public statements recently of his government's continued intention and commitment to implement the EITI- the global standard for good governance of oil, gas and minerals. She said despite the mining sector's contribution to the national economy, the government  was also concerned about the growing state of poverty and underdevelopment in most mining communities nationwide which the government is poised to improve and also change the narratives- a view also shared by a NACE representative on behalf of the Coalition. 

Madam Alghali used the occasion to re-echo President Bio's public statements and urged all stakeholders involved in the EITI process to work together to ensure that EITI  implementation in Sierra Leone is sustained and in good footing to drive reforms and impact. Madam Alghali informed that the government is under obligation to meet to its commitment stating that neither civil society nor mining companies will be held responsible should key requirements were not met rather, it is the state that will be at stake. 

Representatives from Sierra Rutile and Vimetco mining companies committed on behalf of the Chamber of Mines to fully engage in the EITI process however, a major concern raised focused on comprehensive disclosure on SLEITI report of all taxes paid to government without discrepancies including PAYE. 

Among other things, the retreat developed and adopted a work plan that will chart out the activities and related implementation scheduled for 2020 and beyond. Production of 2019 SLEITI report; optimize transparency and accountability in the payment and utilization of sub-national revenues; strengthened transparency provisions in the legal, policy and regulatory frameworks for good governance of the sector form parts of the major objectives in the 2020 agreed work plan.