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BpTT president on EITI report: Major shift in energy sector transparency
T&T’s first Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report was a major shift in the transparency and accountability of the energy sector, Norman Christie, regional president of bpTT, said yesterday. “We at bpTT believe publication of T&T’s first EITI report represents a most significant policy and paradigm shift as it relates to transparency, accountability and good governance on the part of the state. “As a founding member of the EITI and an ultimate member of the initiative board, bpTT works with governments around the world, also with NGOs and international agencies, on increasing the transparency of revenue flows,” he said when he spoke at the opening ceremony of a University of the West Indies (UWI) two-day seminar on Revenue Reporting and Creating a Culture of Transparency at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
T&T’s first ever EITI report, published September 30 last year, gives details of all government revenues for 2011. Christie said in 2012 bpTT partnered with UWI’s Trade and Economic Unit to host a revenue management conference. “The discussions at the conference were timely as they were held in advance of the release of T&T’s first EITI report which shows billions of dollars paid in taxes to the Government from the extractive industries each year. “At the conference it was known that the report was in the pipeline and the papers presented were shared with the Government,” he said. Christie said accountability and transparency were in bpTT’s interest wherever they operate. “BP is in favour of workable solutions and effective disclosable rules. Wherever we have operations, bpTT has a strong interest in promoting accountability and good governance. Therefore we applaud the EITI putting a report together in the universally accepted format allowing for easier comparison with other hydrocarbon economies.
“BP believes that a comprehensive, multi stakeholder approach of the EITI is the best approach for the extractive industries operating in T&T and beyond. It is for this reason the company had been supporting the EITI locally before the report was published,” he said. He said bpTT also partnered with the EITI in various workshops with all stakeholders. “bpTT is committed to transparency and publishes information annually in our sustainability report which is available online. “A review of the report shows that our company echoes the views of the local EITI chairman, Victor Hart. He expressed the view that it would bring about a greater level of public engagement and discussion on the management of this country’s natural resources. Like most multinationals bpTT lives on principles of transparency.” Christie said transparency in industry payments to government was just one step in accountability. “UWI identified a significant need to ensure more in society are empowered with not only access to but a deep understanding of reports like those from the T&T EITI. That is why we have partnered with UWI for this conference. Our goal is for wider society to read and correctly interpret and understand the data presented to them,” he said.