05 Jun Albania: Closing the book on the past
This article originally appeared on the website of the EITI International Secretariat (eiti.org), Wednesday, January 21, 2015 and on the Progress Report EITI 2015, Thursday, June 4, 2015.
Transparency is key in the renewed efforts to leave Albania’s extractives sector in better shape for future generations.
Albania’s government has initiated a bold reform programme for strengthening its extractives sector. Improving transparency is a crucial part of these reforms.
In 2014, Albania published two EITI reports and a new revenue management plan, beefed up the capacity for contract negotiation, introduced efforts to tackle informality in the mining sector and passed transparency requirements into law.
Dorina Cinari, EITI Albania’s National Coordinator said:
“With the extensive disclosures through our EITI, we now have a critical mass of information about our energy sector. With this information we are painting the picture of what the extractive industries could look like in Albania. The sector’s economic importance is evident and it is becoming increasingly politically important. You see proof of this throughout the government’s agenda.”
Vice Minister of Energy and Industry Bejtja added:
“Our priority is simple: full transparency and accountability in the extractive industry and in the use of our resources. No doubt this sector carries big issues; especially mining. We are working with dedication for a new vision and a new standard, to restore confidence, to create an efficient comprehensive and transparent system.”
Finding the missing parts of the puzzle
A crucial missing piece to the puzzle was until this year the state-owned oil company Albpetrol. With their latest EITI report, this was addressed. Ilir Aliaj of the Center for Development of Democratisation of Institutions and member of the Albania EITI council said:
“We were pleased that further information on Albpetrol has been included, based on civil society’s request. This demonstrates its commitment to implement the new EITI Standard.”
Fresh on the heels of these efforts, the government is already exploring how it can further strengthen transparency. On the eve of the launch of their EITI Report, the government announced two new studies—one on the feasibility of including hydropower in the EITI process and one on a unified extractive industries data management tool.
Albania’s Minister for Energy and Industry Gjiknuri put it succinctly:
“We must forever close the book on the past. There is no turning back. It is high time that Albanians start obtaining the benefits from their resources. We will fight with determination every plague in the system. We must leave this clean to our future generations.”