Kazakhstan Accepted as EITI Member on Second Try

Kazakhstan was accepted as a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) during the meeting of their international board held on October 17th in the capital of Ivory Coast.

The decision was announced by EITI Regional Director Dyvveke Rogan and member of the National Committee of Civil Society representatives Natalia Yantzen. Chairman of the Committee for Geology and Subsoil Use of the Ministry of Industry and New Technology of Kazakhstan Bazarbay Nurabayev represented Kazakhstan at the meeting.

The approval comes after Kazakhstan’s second effort to get through the EITI’s checking procedure, having first applied in 2009. All in all, there are 18 general criteria and two additional requirements, according to the EITI statute in force. Kazakhstan’s application was submitted on Oct. 15th of this year to the EITI international secretariat and board of directors.

In 2005, Kazakhstan agreed to impose EITI standards on its territory. These standards aim to ensure the transparency of governmental and private sector income from the mining sector. Joining EITI brings a high international, political and anti-corruption status, which influences the investment attractiveness of member countries. Apart from developing countries, the U.S. and Australia have also joined the initiative.

The EITI was first announced by the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair in September 2002 during the Sustainable Development Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Blair proposed the idea as a response to statements by transnational oil companies and the World Bank against policies implemented by several states rich in oil and gas resources, such as Nigeria and Angola, whose populations remain largely impoverished because of the high levels of corruption. Extraction companies working on the territory of a state have to pay taxes to the government of that state. The annual total sum of money has to be published and compared with the data submitted by an independent auditor. The whole process should be controlled by nongovernmental organisations representing active members of the society.

In 2005, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his country’s decision to join the initiative. In October of that year, the Kazakhstan government, extraction companies, concerned members of Parliament and a coalition of NGOs called Oil Income Under Society’s Control signed an agreement to ensure the government would receive information about any incongruity in incomes, which would trigger penal measures.

The Fifth National EITI Conference took place in the Palace of Independence on Oct. 9th as part of the Kazenergy Forum. During the conference, speakers discussed perspectives for enlarging and developing the initiative in Kazakhstan. The conference was attended by representatives of government, Mazhilis members and oil companies executives and NGO representatives involved in the EITI implementation process.

After three years, Kazakhstan will have to prove its status, going through another checking procedure different to the one it has already passed. In addition to the general EITI standard, there are two expanded standards: EITI+ and EITI++. These provide additional information about shares and heads of the companies as well as about the conditions of concluded agreements.

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