Gosh, this is interesting from Ritchie

I wrote earlier today about the arguments now going on in the EU about introducing country-by-country reporting for the extractive industries.

I have to say I am not objective on this issue since I created the concept of country-by-country reporting in 2003,

Gosh, the world is bending to his mighty will!

Umm, here\’s what the Publish What You Pay campaign has to say about their genesis.

In December 1999 Global Witness published a report called A Crude Awakening, an exposé of the apparent complicity of the oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war. It became clear that the refusal to release financial information by major multinational oil companies aided and abetted the mismanagement and embezzlement of oil revenues by the elite in the country. The report concluded with a public call on the oil companies operating in Angola to ‘publish what you pay’.

It was clear however that the lack of transparency in the extractive industries was also a significant concern in other resource-rich but poor countries. Therefore in June 2002 Global Witness along with other founding members, CAFOD, Open Society Institute, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and Transparency International UK, launched the worldwide PWYP campaign, calling for all natural resource companies to disclose their payments to governments for every country of operation.

Oh. It all started in 1999 when Ritchie was still advising luvvies on tax dodging at Murphy Deeks Nolan.

And the campaign was fully up and running in 2002, a year before Ritchie came up with the concept!

I\’m off to patent the wheel: just because it already exists doesn\’t mean I cannot invent it, does it?

10 comments on “Gosh, this is interesting from Ritchie

  1. “…aided and abetted the mismanagement and embezzlement of oil revenues by the elite in the country.”
    So, the Nations wealth is stolen by Politicians and Bureaucrats and it’s the fault of those evil corporations?

  2. what I find very odd about this, is that when whatever relevant accounting standards bodies were thinking about how MNCs ought to report their accounts, country-by-country reporting must have been one of the options they considered. Somebody must have said: “should we get them to report by country?” and somebody else must have said “nah, regional will do”. It’s not like some previously undiscovered idea that needed to be “invented” by somebody.

  3. Excuse me for being an ignoramus on this subject, but why was this not done in the first place? As Luis Enrique says it’s hardly an idea that needed ‘inventing’. Implicitly or explicitly the idea must have been rejected a long time ago.

  4. Oh, so because some bad stuff by one or two multi-nationals alledgedly happened in one or two countries, all multi-nationals in all countries have to change their working methods to make sure that this situation never happens again.

    Where have I heard this method being used before? Oh, yes, by politicians.

    Hard cases make bad laws.

  5. It became clear that the refusal to release financial information by major multinational oil companies aided and abetted the mismanagement and embezzlement of oil revenues by the elite in the country.

    When BP tried to do this in Angola, the Angolan government said it would be a breach of confidentiality and they would lose their license if they did so. The reason was that if everyone knew how much tax BP paid in Angola, they could also work out how much the individuals which make up the Angolan government have fleeced from the state coffers. In short, by not releasing the data BP was complying with the law of the land. Isn’t that what Ritchie wants?

  6. In short, by not releasing the data BP was complying with the law of the land.

    Both the letter and the spirit. The latter being “do whatever we tell you to do.” 🙂

  7. @ Luis
    BP and the other three surviving sisters operate in over 100 countries. Not so much “nah, regional will do” as “we can’t get 100 columns on a page”. In those days the Actuaries used to add up columns of figures on New Year’s Day to calculate the assets and liabilities of insurance companies without calculators (the new-fangled electronic calculators were less reliable). When the process was computerised a few years later, it took a fortnight longer to produce the results.

  8. @Tim_Newman – not just the confidentiality of embezzled money but also that every oil licence is negotiated individually in countries like Angola and the terms vary widely; in an industry where assets are traded regularly the last thing you want is someone knowing your exact financial position when you’re negotiating with them

  9. @John77

    …and now most actuaries’ year-end reporting takes until March….and then the next quarterly reporting cycle begins.

    Signed by:

    A grumpy actuary in the middle of year-end whose MoSes runs keep dying due to “hardware issues”

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