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.