09 Jan EITI International Conference
The Albanian EITI Secretariat organized from 20 to 21 December, 2017 in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy the International Conference “Taking Advantage from being an EITI Compliant Country”/“Taxes and the Legal Framework of Extractive Industries – best international practices and the case of Albania”.
The International Conference was attended by the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Enis Aliko, the Head of the Albanian Secretariat of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Mr. Ardit Kamberi, World Bank’s Country Manager in Tirana, Ms. Maryam Salim, Chief of Cabinet in the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Mr.Ervin Mete, as well as by representatives of OSCE, UNDP, US Embassy and Swiss Embassy in Tirana.
The event was also attended by a number of representatives from International Partners, Financial Institutions, International Fiscal and Legal Experts, representatives from Central Institutions, MoFE, General Directorate of Customs and Taxation, Albanian Geological Survey, National Agency of Natural Resources, Albpetrol, Albgaz, TAP, Shell Albania, Extractive Industries companies, as well as Civil Society representatives and MSG members of the EITI Secretariat.
The EITI is a coalition made up of 51 countries, which seeks to optimize the use of Natural Resources (Oil, Gas and Mineral and Hydropower Resources) and to promote Transparency to prevent corruption while providing institutions and citizens with a basis to assess the fair usage of natural resources.
The Head of the Albanian National Secretariat of the Global Transparency Initiative in the Extractive Industries, Mr. Ardit Kamberi, stated in his speech that he sees EITI as a showcase for foreign investors, which helps promoting transparency and directly affects the attraction of foreign investments in Albania.
Mr. Kamberi said that the implementation of the EITI standard bears considerable advantages for Albania.
The implementation of the EITI standard improves government systems and may lead to improved tax collection and budget planning. A politically transparent and open government increases citizens’ confidence.
All companies are required to disclose information in compliance with the same international standard. Companies also benefit from a stable business and market climate, which promotes investments and limits unfair competition.
On the other hand, citizens benefit from obtaining reliable information about their country’s natural resources which will enable them to hold the Government and companies accountable. In this context, Civil Society is an essential partner in the EITI implementation process.
The Head of EITI Secretariat also said that “The EITI”s work is focused on the trajectory between natural resources and public benefits, being naturally positioned in the so-called Value Chain, which starts with concessionary procedures, production and revenue collection up to social and economic benefits. Likewise, the successful reform in the energy sector which has been recently implemented by the Albanian Government will certainly be used as a model of success for the policies regarding natural resource exploitation”.
“EITI seeks to strengthen government and company systems’ health and immunity and to promote public debate and transparency” said Mr. Kamberi.
Referring to the data on Production Trends published in the official EITI report for 2015, it results that Mining sector production in 2015 (estimated at about USD 230 million) increased by 55% compared to 2012 (estimated at USD 149 million).
Electricity production increased by 276% in 2015 (estimated at about USD 398 million) compared to 2013.
In his speech, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Enis Aliko, congratulated EITI Albania on the results achieved while mentioning a few from the preliminary assessment report.
“Hence, I’m pleased to note that out of 28 chapters reviewed by the Validator, we achieved satisfactory progress in 50% of them, meaningful progress in almost 45%, and inadequate or no progress in only 5% of the chapters. All this is very positive, but at the same time it imposes greater responsibility on us in order to maintain and further improve this standard”.
During the validation process, considerable attention has been paid to the Multi-stakeholder Group and its role in leading Strategic EITI Processes in Albania. I want to stress that one of the main aspects of the process is the timely collection and reporting of data as well as data quality”, underlined Aliko.
The Deputy Minister demanded greater commitment from civil society organizations which, according to him, are extremely useful for the Transparency Initiative. Mr. Aliko said, among others, that EITI is in the process of approving the draft law “On transparency of extractive industry activities and the exploitation of natural resources in the Republic of Albania”.
“This law aims at promoting and ensuring transparency in extractive activities in particular and the use of natural resources in general, through the implementation of international EITI standards.
One of the EITI’s objectives is to increase transparency on the real owners or beneficial owners of extractive companies, and to establish by 2020 the register of beneficial owners, whose reporting will be mandatory”, added Aliko.
“From this perspective, we are aware that the templates of agreements signed 20 or 25 years ago are not adequate for making optimum use of natural resources. We need to draw new regulations on how to attract investors, grant exploration or exploitation licenses for new or existing areas and blocks and ensure fairly distribution of benefits from extractive activities, while also relying in the experience of foreign experts. This can be achieved only through a transparent process and free competition and that is where we should concentrate our efforts” concluded his speech Mr. Aliko.
A video message by the Head of the International EITI Secretariat, Jonas Moberg, was also broadcast during the Conference. Mr. Moberg emphasized in his speech that Albania should continue reporting on the progress of TAP project, improve monitoring and planning in communities where natural resources are exploited, and enhance transparency regarding the identification of Real Owners of companies operating in the extractive industry .
Mr. Moberg praised Albania’s progress regarding the Validation process.
In her speech, the World Bank Country Manager in Tirana, Ms. Salim praised Albania’s commitment and collaboration in the EITI process.
The representative of Ministry of Finance and Economy, Mr. Mete, analyzed the financial aspect of the impact from the implementation of international standards in the extractive sector in Albania.
Discussions followed with representatives of the Extractive Industries, such as Shell Albania, Antea Cement; Executives o the American Chamber of Commerce, Representatives of the Foreign Investor Association (FIAA), Civil Society Representatives; Representatives of the Academic and Scientific Bodies, Heads of Directorates in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, executives of NANR, Albanian Geological Survey, Albpetrol, Albgaz; International Experts, Deloitte Audit Albania, etc.
The event was accompanied by a Photographic Exhibition, with pictures highlighting many aspects of the activities in the Mining, Oil & Gas and Energy sectors in Albania.