Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SEC´s sunshine rules might signify more darkness.

The SEC, in accordance to what was requested in the Dodd-Frank Act, has now ordered US-listed companies to disclose the payments they make to the host governments.
That is absolutely great news… I mean of course for those countries where civil society is strong enough to matter... and where the governments have at least the intention of listening to it. 
But, in those countries where civil society is truly weak, as is most often the case of countries suffering the curse of abundant natural resources, those sunshine rules might only mean more darkness, as they could tend to exclude the sort of more reasonable or least unethical extractive industry corporations from participating, leaving the field open to the truly unreasonable and least ethical. 
Why do not invest instead all these well intentioned efforts in supporting the development of strong autonomous civil societies, independent of civil societies from other countries, and which can demand better results where it really matters, not in the corporate reports of companies listed in the stock-exchanges of developed countries, or in an annual report of a well intentioned NGO, but on their own oil-fields and mines? 
If the SEC would at least dare to follow up and approving a list of countries where a reasonable active participation of civil society existed, and in which therefore these sunshine rules must apply, and a list of those countries where these rules are impossible to apply, then that could be more helpful, not only for us oil cursed citizens, but perhaps even for SEC’s own listed natural resource companies.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the EITI!

But now, when Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was unfortunately not appointed as World Bank President, why do we not make the best out of it and launch her candidacy as the next Chairman of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, EITI? 
I mean so that we oil-cursed citizens are represented there by an oil-extraction-cursed citizen and not an-oil-consuming-cursed citizen. 
I mean so that we oil-extraction-cursed citizens are not represented there by someone whose government, by means of taxes on gasoline-petrol consumption, gets more value out of a barrel of oil than what the oil-company and the oil-extracting country do together.
I mean there´s a slight difference between those who sell oil and those who buy it.
By the way, we know how the President of the World Bank gets elected, that is quite transparent, USA elects him, but how does the Chairman of the EITI get to be elected?