Call for transparent reporting

Business

A LACK of payment information from the extractive sector to the provincial and local level governments is a cause of concern, according to the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report 2014.
The payments include royalties, development levies and compensation arrangements. Only the Special Support Grant is published in the national budget.
“Information relating to sub-national transfers and payments is difficult to obtain,” the report said.
“Some relevant information is to be found in the National Economic and Fiscal Commission 2013 Budget and Fiscal Report, but does not always align to the EITI reporting requirements.
“Some benefits to regions impacted by extractives are set out in law via royalties, equity stakes, dividends and compensation arrangements.
“Others are included in memoranda of understanding on a case-by-case basis.
However, these agreements are in most cases not public, and accountability mechanisms vary significantly.
“The category, number and balance of trust accounts in use could not be reliably identified, even by the auditor-general.
“Additionally, trust account spending has not been incorporated into state budget expenditure. Again, this situation leaves significant scope for abuse.”
Head of the PNGEITI national secretariat Lucas Alkan said the government had seen the report’s recommendations and he hoped that more would be done to improve transparency in the extractive sector.
“We are grateful that the government acted positively with a recent National Executive Council decision directing relevant government entities to take action (s),” Alkan said.

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