Freetown - In a bid to further demonstrate Government’s commitment to enhance transparency and accountability in the country’s lucrative mining industry, the Government of Sierra Leone, Civil Society and Mining companies have committed themselves to ensure maximum returns to the people. State House Chief of Staff Dr. Kaifala Marah joined civil society representative, Abu Brima of Network Movement for Justice and Development and the Communications Chief of Koidu Holdings, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara in signing a Memorandum of Understanding shortly after launching of the Work Plan of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI) at State House in Freetown.
Addressing the gathering of Civil Society, the Media, Development partners including EITI Secretariat representative from Oslo, Dr. Francisco Paris, Dr. Marah described the initiative as a global best practice guide meant to keep in tune with transparency, accountability, as well as ensure inclusive participation in the entire process. ‘He described the country’s rapid progress in the UN Human Development Index as good news and encouraged all partners to do more to meet international standards and abide by international best practice. Lauding the efforts of partners in the implementation of the initiative, Dr. Marah stated that; ‘we win because we are committed and can continue to win if we partner with civil society and others”, describing the new direction of the EITI as determined and committed.
Dr. Marah disclosed the establishment of a Minerals Negotiating Team at State House which is able to undertake wholesome negotiations with mining companies from a much longer platform. ‘We have been able to review the African Minerals agreement and finalizing the London Mining agreement and currently working on Cluff Gold, Sierra Minerals and would soon take up Koidu Holdings on, Tong Field and Sierra Rutile’, he noted. The Chief of Staff maintained that Government has reaffirmed the EITI initiative, reiterating its commitment to working with all partners in implementing the Work Plan from the EITI Secretariat already set up at Dundas Street in western Freetown, outside State House, to ensure that the EITI process is effectively and holistically implemented.
At the same time, the State House Chief of Staff revealed the re-activation of the Multi-Stakeholder Group, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Petroleum Unit to also form part of the EITI initiative. The EITI law was enacted, he said to look at all sectors dealing with the extractive industry, so as to ensure that it benefits the people of Sierra Leone.
© 2011, Joseph Kamanda. All rights reserved. Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.