Transparency International has identified lack of transparency and poor accountability in the natural resource sector as a major source of corruption, particularly in the developing world. Recent TI research has found only very few oil and gas companies disclose adequate information on their payments to governments on a voluntary basis.*
The European Union is preparing a strong regulation that would require EU based oil, gas, mining and forestry companies to disclose detailed information on payments to governments globally, for example corporate taxes and bonuses for signing contracts.
Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Irish Presidency of the EU (representing EU member states) are expected to conclude tomorrow.
For over ten years, TI-Bulgaria has been actively working to achieve transparency and integrity in the expenditure of public funds. This provides the incentive for TI-Bulgaria to support the call of the international coalition Transparency International and to welcome the efforts of the member states supporting such legislature. We sincerely hope that the Bulgarian government would express similar position during the negotiation, in particular by supporting the removal of any reference to exemptions in the legislation.
Unfortunately, some EU member states have proposed exemptions that would undermine the intent of legislation by encouraging autocratic regimes to pass secrecy laws forbidding disclosure of the information. Following sustained pressure from the oil, gas and mining lobby, the draft legislative proposals contain a provision that excludes payments made to a country where disclosure is prohibited by its criminal legislation. Research has shown that no criminal laws exist that would prevent companies from reporting on the ground, and references to such an exemption would only create incentives for some governments to pass such laws.
*[Link to 2011 Promoting Revenue Transparency Report:http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/pub/promoting_revenue_transparency_2011_report_on_oil_and_gas_companies