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Tanzania suspended from EITI weeks after passing law

The Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has suspended Tanzania for failing to publish its EITI report for 2012/2013 in time.

Tanzania’s request for the Board to allow more time for the Tanzania EITI (TEITI) Secretariat to complete the report was rejected on grounds that the country did not back up the application with extraordinary justification.

“Having assessed the extension request from Tanzania, the EITI Board concludes that Tanzania is ineligible for an extension and is suspended effective 2 September 2015,” read a letter signed by Board Chair, Clare Short.

“The Board’s assessment was that Tanzania was not eligible for an extension as the delays with the report were due to administrative and procurement lapses, which the Board concluded were not exceptional circumstances.”

If the outstanding EITI report is not published by 30 December 2015, the suspension will remain in force until the EITI Board is satisfied that Tanzania has complied. However, Tanzania risks getting delisted if the suspension remains in force for a period of one year.

Tanzania is the third African country to be suspended from the voluntary standard in the past three years. The Central African Republic was suspended effective 10 April 2013 following the coup d’état there in March. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was also suspended around the same time for not fully disclosing financial information in its annual report, but was later re-admitted and confirmed as a full EITI member in 2014 after it had addressed the Board’s concerns.

A total of 49 countries are currently implementing EITI.

New EITI legislation

The suspension came barely a month after outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete signed the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Act 2015. The new legislation effectively enshrines EITI requirements into law.

It makes full disclosure mandatory and requires extractive companies exploiting Tanzania’s vast mineral and petroleum resources, as well as the government entities they deal with, to provide timely and accurate information for TEITI’s annual report. The law also lays out penalties for those individuals, companies, agencies or institutions that fail to provide information about their transactions or provide false information to TEITI.

Report by Chris Musiime