Mineral mining transparency urged

Monday, May 06, 2013 16:55

Titanium mining is carried out in Vinh Tu Commune in the central Quang Tri Province's Vinh Linh District. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat

HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam should participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard that promotes transparency at the local level in the field of mineral exploitation, according to a new report conducted by Adam Smith International.

Adopting the initiative would strengthen Viet Nam's role as a leading nation within the ASEAN region, the report said, and would help the country work with the EU in the run-up to a planned ASEAN economic community in 2015.

The report was introduced for the first time at a seminar this week, where Le Duong Quang, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, agreed with its conclusions.

Pham Quang Tu, deputy director of the Consultancy on Development Institute, said that Viet Nam could benefit from the experiences and lessons learned from the 37 countries that had already signed up for the initiative.

In Nigeria, adopting EITI has recovered US$442 million of US$2.6 billion that companies owed the government. And after Indonesia decided to implement EITI, its Moody's and Fitch ratings improved.

The authors of the report believe that the move could do the same for Viet Nam by making external entities such as global credit ratings agencies regard the country as more transparent and less risky.

Taking on the initiative could also convince the international investor community that Viet Nam would be a good place to do business in the extractive industry sector.

Strong commitment

Tu said Viet Nam already had the appropriate legal framework to implement the transparency initiative, adding that EITI compliance would also help Viet Nam fight internal corruption.

"The biggest challenge facing EITI compliance for Viet Nam is whether Government management agencies commit to implementing the initiative," Tu said.

Even though the Ministry of Industry and Trade did not do much when it was first tasked with studying the issue by the Government in 2010, the fact that the ministry finally chaired a seminar on the feasibility of implementing EITI indicated that the Government was interested in the initiative, he said.

But the deputy director added that Viet Nam needed to follow certain steps to properly implement the initiative.

"If enough attention is paid, it will take Viet Nam four years to be part of the EITI," he said. "If not, it will take forever."

Enterprises involved in mineral exploitation must be willing to support the process, while Governmental agencies need to co-operate smoothly with them, he advised.

Antony Stokes, the UK ambassador to Viet Nam, predicted that Viet Nam's promotion of transparency in the economy would help improve the country's prestige in the international arena. He added that the UK would support Viet Nam in the decision-making process by helping hire independent experts to study the advantages of the initiative as well as the challenges it would raise. — VNS

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