Can Ritchie count?

In the UK those of us with concern on tax and development have good reason to be pleased this morning.

But there’s also good news from the States today. The SEC has finally published the rules to be applied to oil, gas and mineral companies based in the US and how they must disclose the payments they make to governments where they extract their raw materials.

This rule is directly inspired by my work on country-by-country reporting. I was the first person to link reporting payments in accounts in the extractive industries and financial reporting as a way to tackle corruption way back in 2005. So let me be honest: what the SEC has delivered is not country-by-country reporting and it’s therefore not all I want.

But it’s one heck of a big way forward.

And another reason for celebration today.

Gosh, that is wondrous, isn\’t it? A lone accountant taking on the world and making it a better place.

But 2005 eh? I wonder, can Ritchie count?

The World Bank has strongly supported the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI)3 since its launch in 2002. The EITI seeks to help resource-rich
countries maximize the development gains from the exploitation of their oil, gas,
and mineral resources by encouraging greater EI revenue transparency. Through the
verification and full publication of payments made by companies and revenues from
oil, gas, and mining received by governments, the EITI helps to safeguard against
corruption and provides a powerful illustration of voluntary engagement of
governments, industry, civil society and other stakeholders to establish a locally
implemented global standard.

The World Bank was a member of an organisation pushing for exactly this transparency three years before Ritchie even thought of it.

In the absence of a time machine I\’m not sure how we can explain that at all.

8 thoughts on “Can Ritchie count?”

  1. Tim

    He’s claiming the idea that it should be an accounting standard –

    http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/resources/reform-international-accounting-standards-oil-gas-mining-industries-offers-unprecedented-o

    In fact the idea of PWYP dates back to 1999.

    http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/about/history

    The issue with the idea of country by country reporting is that it runs the risk of allowing firms from really dodgy places to be the developers of stuff in the most corrupt places. (Think Russian and Chinese oil firms in Angola) because US firms are unable to operate as freely.

    EITI is probably better than just publication since it attempt to strengthen civil society – although the issue of not knowing how the money is spent after being paid remains a big problem.

  2. his arrogance will never allow him to admit that it wasn’t his idea

    “Look! I can control deman nature itself! I DEMAND that gravity keeps working!”

    *drops apple to floor*

    “See! Even physics obeys my ideas!”

  3. Given his refusal to look at the real world, other people’s ideas or long established and evidenced theories in any of his straw-grasping, it is entirely plausible that he is completely ignorant of any of the prior art in the case.

    Hence he might merely be mistaken rather than duplicitous in his claims. Of course, being Ritchie, I’m reluctant to give him the benefit of anything, never mind the doubt.

  4. In one of his posts a couple of weeks ago he made reference to hoping that one of Obama’s staff brought Ritchie’s Guardian piece to the attention of Obama himself. I kid you not, this guy has an ego the size of the UK and an arrogance to match.

    Just a thought maybe the BBC ship their spare copies of the Guardian to the Whitehouse – wouldn’t put it past those lefties.

  5. Answers to questions posed by Tim Worstall to which we already know the answer:

    Q: Can Ritchie count?
    A: No.

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