08 07 14 All Africa – Congo Improves Natural-Resources Accounting

Wednesday, Congo – with a wealth of natural resources, including plentiful
water, plus gold, copper and minerals used to manufacture cellphones – was
recognized as a full member in the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative. The coalition of 45 governments plus companies and civil-society
groups exposes tax evasion and lost revenues involving natural

Moberg, head of the initiative's secretariat, praised Congo's "extraordinary
level of engagement" in the EITI process. Though the Congo's natural-resources
management could be improved, he said, the process ensures well-informed

was suspended from the EITI last year for insufficient reporting. In particular,
the board wanted independent audits of mining companies and tax agencies, plus
monitoring of revenue and spending from a $6.3 billion venture between Congo's
state mining company and a Chinese consortium.

Balde, manager for central Africa at the EITI secretariat in Norway, told VOA
that Congo's latest report, for 2011, shows much more detail than in the
previous year.

for 2011, what you see is about $1.4 billion paid to the government at various
levels," Balde said. "There is detailed accounting for this, who has collected
the revenues from whom and where they sent the money to. Learning the lessons
from the 2010 report, there is now very thorough work that has been

London-based group Global Witness, which campaigns for more transparency and
accountability in natural resource management, agreed the DRC has made

Witness thinks there have been great strides forward with EITI in Congo," said
Nathaniel Dyer, a researcher for the group. "EITI has put a lot of new
information in the public realm. Saying that, we still have some pretty major
concerns about the governance of Congo's mineral and oil

doesn't necessarily lead to accountability or to the lack of bad

pointed to state mining company Gecamines' sale of five of Congo's biggest
mining concessions in recent years. Another watchdog group, the Africa Progress
Panel, said those assets were undervalued, resulting in lost potential revenue
of at least $1.35 billion for the Congolese state and

has been at the heart of those transactions," Dyer said. The company doesn't
provide annual reports, he said, saying it's "acting like a black hole in the
middle of Congo's mining sector."

said EITI so far has concentrated on tracing companies' actual rather than
potential spending, earnings and profit. Going forward, he said, EITI will look
at ownership issues, especially when concessions are sold.

added that EITI also will investigate revenue collection from small-scale mining
in Eastern Congo.

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