Trinidad and Tobago is now a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), having complied with all requirements.
Clare Short, Chair of the EITI Board made the announcement on Tuesday on the second day of the 2015 Energy conference hosted by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago.
Short told delegates from across the energy sector that Trinidad and Tobago’s report on its tax regime, licensing requirements was “impressive” and went “beyond the requirement.”
Trinidad and Tobago now joins 50 countries in EITI including the US, UK and Germany as members.
Responding to the news of Trinidad and Tobago becoming a full member of the EITI, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine in an e-mail message to Energy Chamber Chief Executive Office, Dr. Dax Driver said it was an “historic accomplishment” and “great news for our country.”
Driver told the conference that the Energy Chamber, a member of the multi-stakeholders steering committee was delighted with the EITI membership since it has been advocating for TT EITI for over a decade and was the first organisation in the country to support its implementation.
Trinidad and Tobago is the lone lead EITI compliant country in the Caribbean Community
Short said the energy sector has traditionally been opaque and secretive, which lead to corruption and a general lack of trust.
The movement worldwide is to make the sector open and this has been supported by energy companies around the world.
While the focus of the first stage of the EITI was on revenues being paid to governments, a decision at the Board’s biennial meeting in Sydney, Australia agreed that standards of reporting should be enhanced along the value chain.
Going forward in the next phase, Short said her biggest aspiration is that transparency is entrenched in government fiscal reporting.
Short explained “my own vision for the future across the world is for transparent government systems, more informed public debate (and that) countries learn from each other about fairness and best practice.