-To Fight Corruption in Liberia’s Extractive Sector
By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-Every fabric of the Liberian society seems to be eaten up by corruption, as many individuals and institutions had been calling for deliberate steps and political will to fight this menace.
The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) is one institution calling on all Liberians to unconditionally participate in the fight against the scourge of corruption in the country’s Extractive industries.
At the anti-corruption day, LEITI Secretariat believes Liberia is no exception to countries losing so much of their Domestic Resources from the Extractive Sector to Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Evasion, Corruption, and Fraud.
The Secretariat is firmly convinced that revenue from the extractive sector can double in Liberia if the fights against Illicit Financial Flow, Tax Evasion, Corruption, and Fraud in the extractive sector changed from words to deeds!! Consequently, changing from words to deeds will require strong political will, independence, sincerity, commitment and budgetary support for Integrity Institutions.
LEITI also believes that the country’s natural resources can be a blessing to all citizens only if the country realizes and utilizes its actual benefits from the exploitation and/or exploration of these resources. Corruption will erode this reality if Liberians do not holistically tackle it, knowing that natural resources are depleteable.
Liberia’s extractive sector, comprised mining, oil and gas. However, forestry, and agriculture, is the mainstay of the country’s economy, contributing 52% of the national GDP in 2019. The production and export of iron ore, gold, and diamonds primarily drive the mining sector.
While oil and gas exploration is ongoing, production has not yet commenced. According to EITI’s reporting, the extractive sector yielded 93% of total export earnings and 15% government revenue in 2018 and 2019.
“The sooner Liberians get protective of these God-given gifts, the better it will be for the country.” LEITI’s Head of Secretariat,” Jeffrey N. Yates asserts.
Yates noted that while there are efforts by Liberians and development partners to develop instruments and anti-corruption measures in the sector, Liberians must own these processes to succeed.
The LEITI boss believes that when there is complete transparency over the conduct and operation of the extractive sector’s value chain-from exploration to benefit realization, the country’s revenue envelope will consistently increase to support national growth and development. “For this to happen, all hands must be on deck, especially the Liberian people who are the ultimate beneficiaries”, Yates pointed.