Liberia heading for EITI exit, warns watchdog

Barry Morgan |

President George Weah

Liberia may be ejected from the ranks of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) if it fails to implement “significant corrective measures,” according to the regional director of the international governance watchdog, Mamadou Bady Balde.

This will compromise Liberia’s ability to attract international oil companies and attract direct investment, he said.

Liberia has failed to meet EITI standards and, unless it publishes delayed reports before the end of December, it may be delisted from the membership, Balde told a workshop in the capital Monrovia convened to review progress of corrective action.

“Without corrective measures, both government and stakeholders may be deprived of an important instrument of transparency and accountability, including reforms of the oil and gas sector, limiting Liberia’s ability to borrow from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he said.

Liberia was suspended from the EITI in September 2018 over reporting lapses, a persistent lack of transparency and for arbitrarily removing the country director of the local wing Liberia Extractive Industries Transparent Initiative (LEITI) and substituting a presidential appointee.

President George Weah earlier invited the IMF to help find a route out of economic gridlock amid conditions of rampant inflation and worsening corruption and, coincidentally, today convened his Economic Management Team and civil society representatives to review progress.

National Oil Company of Liberia (Nocal) chief executive Saifuah-Mai Gray earlier said a licensing round had been mooted for earlier this year, with blocks already demarcated in deep-water and ultra-deepwater areas, but that data collation for the Harper basin would require special attention.


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