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sharing in governance of extractive industries

Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum launch Transparency Portal

In December, the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum launched a Transparency Portal at the government media information centre in Kabul. It was attended by Afghan civil society members and journalists. The event was broadcasted on national TV and streamed live on several media channels. The Ministry’s senior leadership, including Hon Minister Nargis Nehan spoke about how the Transparency Portal aimed to improve confidence among investors, as well as the public, who could now see all licenses issued and payments made to the Ministry. It was well-timed, considering the EITI validation process which was ongoing at the time. So what is in the portal and why does it matter?

The portal is updated automatically every day, directly from the Ministry’s license management system MCAS and the integrated payments system NTRS installed in the Ministry. At the moment it contains over 1,000 licenses and over 9,000 license-related payments from small and large-scale mining and oil companies. The payments published represents over USD 180 Million in government revenue. What is remarkable about the Ministry’s progress is that they also process royalty payments, alongside penalty fees and surface rent in their NTRS system. Today you can see a payment made yesterday. Which other countries does that?

The approach follows the idea of EITI mainstreamining. National audits will now use data directly from the Ministry's systems. This will also eventually replace the 2-3 year backward looking EITI validation process with more recent and relevant data. The current validation was for the period 2017, where the EITI board concluded to temporarily suspended Afghanistan due to lack of progress. The EITI board did however to some degree take into consideration these recent achievements, which was described, credited and encouraged in the board's decision letter. Although more work remains to achieve the full potential, these systems are now a key vehicle for institutional reform.

The fact that MoMP has these new functional systems in place is even more interesting because of several previously failed attempts at implementing a mining cadastre and payment systems in the Ministry under World Bank support in the period 2008-2017.

The portal is available on the MoMP website. The direct link is;

https://transparency.mom.gov.af/

The MCAS, NTRS and Transparency Portal are license-free software offered to developing countries by the Revenue Development Foundation, and has been implemented in Afghanistan with funding from DFID and GIZ, with advisory support from EU.

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