ArmInfo. Implementation of EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) standard will help reveal real beneficiaries of mining sector, "Youth Association of Environmental Lawyers and Economists" NGO Chairman Erik Grigoryan expressed this opinion to journalists on November 25 on the sidelines of the first official session of multi-beneficiary group of EIFI, which officially launched work on implementation of the Initiative's standard in Armenia.
According to Grigoryan this initiative first and foremost will become a tribune for civil society, from which the sector's problems can be raised. "We think that there are a lot of risks in mining sector and we plan to use this platform not only to increase financial transparency of the field but for discussing ecological and social risks and as a result to become participant of the decision-making process", he stated.
At the same time the expert stated that the civil society has even greater expectations from the Initiative. Starting from 2020 within the Initiative the issue of the real beneficial ownership of the sector's companies will be raised. Grigoryan thinks that the issue is very relevant and important for Armenia as it will help understand who is the final owner of the shares and who influences the process of making decisions. "Many of the companies are registered in offshore and we can not find any information about the owners of the mining deposits", the expert stated.
EITI is a coalition of governments, civil society, investors, and international organizations. It was established in 2002 based on the initiative of the then Prime-Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair during the conference on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The goal of the initiative is raising the transparency and improving the quality of the management in the extractive industry by publishing regular reports, adhering to standards, and strengthening the institutional potential. Within the framework of the Initiative, the extractive companies shall disclose the information on tax and non-tax payments to the governments, while the latter shall publish the reports on the received revenues. The transparency of the information on the received revenues, which is achieved due to the EITI standards, allows the parliaments of the countries, non- governmental organizations, and the citizens to control the activities of the companies and the government. Not only does such civil control hamper the cases of misuse in this sector, but it also contributes to more effective development of the countries as a result of improved economic conditions and more active attraction of direct investments. As global experience shows, the extractive companies win only as a result of the greater transparency thanks to the formation of equal and predictable economic relations.