Ten years ago, Afghanistan was accepted as a member country to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). The Government of Afghanistan at that time made a commitment to combat corruption in the extractives sector; a promise that it continues to keep today; supporting the Afghanistan Extractive Industry Initiative (AEITI) in its mission for sector transparency and accountability.
In the effort to translate natural resource wealth into better development for the local population, the EITI sits in the center of the value-chain, focusing on revenue transparency. In resource rich economies, oil, gas and mining companies make payments directly to governments. Normal channels of public accountability are often missing in resource-dependent countries because the government has an autonomous source of revenue not dependent on taxing its citizens. Government reliance on extractive revenues can result in lower public service delivery, increased opportunities for corruption and higher dependency on the extractive sector. The EITI aims to address this problem by increasing public information, empowering the public to more effectively hold government accountable for resource revenues. Some other benefits of increased revenue transparency include:
- Improving revenue collection and management processes
- Creating a more attractive investment climate
- Building trust between governments, companies and citizens
- Providing a forum to discuss broader extractive industry governance issues such as physical and process audits, contracts transparency and sub-national revenues
In the ten years since its inception, the AEITI MSG has served as an agent for change and transformation; monitoring government actions and reform. With the participation and collaboration of civil society organizations, industry and government it has ensured that the Ministry of Mines sector reforms have made once guarded information publicly accessible.
Communities and families also directly benefit from good governance decisions, as monies collected can be transformed into improved basic services: education, healthcare, waste collection, public transport and roads. Increased investment leads to more jobs, employment opportunities, and the development of new skills that are not only directly linked to resource extraction companies, but also those supporting the industry like contractors, suppliers and service providers the vision of Government to work hard on increasing transparency, reforming our institutions and opening doors for employment opportunities.
AEITI is a key instrument in this process as an important representative voice for communities, industry and government. It monitors progress, provides guidance and ensures that information disclosure happens, so that public participation and debate increases, and it guides the government in value-driven decision-making processes.
The future of the sector is ours to shape and with the involvement of AEITI and our citizenry we can make positive change happen for the sector and for economic growth and development through responsible investment.