Source: The National, Friday, March 15, 2013

Story and picture by MALUM NALU

THE head of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard for improved transparency of government revenue from natural resources, says it is concerned with how funds from PNG’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) will be used.
Jonas Moberg, the head of EITI, said PNG was a resource-rich country, with some of the region’s largest oil, gas, and mining resources, and transparency about how much the government received from these resources – including the SWF – would be a key step to ensure that all Papua New Guineans benefited.
Crater-like pothole at Gordon Market in Port Moresby. The concern is whether the SWF will be used properly to fix deteriorating infrastructure like this.

He met with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to discuss a number of topics, including the SWF.
“The prime minister talked about the importance of getting it right with the sovereign wealth fund to ensure that there is a robust regulatory framework,” Moberg told reporters at the US Embassy on Wednesday.
“I take note that there are a number of countries around the world that put sovereign wealth fund and the implementation of the EITI as two important pillars sitting alongside each other.
“Having a high degree of transparency in a string of regulatory environment is very important for the sovereign wealth fund.”
Moberg was in the country on Tuesday and Wednesday this week as the PNG government considered whether to implement the EITI.
The EITI is the global standard for improved transparency of government revenue from natural resources, currently implemented by 37 countries.
“The EITI provides global standard for transparency, but the process will be locally-owned and can be shaped to meet local needs,” Moberg said.
“The implementation of the EITI sends a strong signal to industry, investors and the community at large that the government is committed to transparency and accountability.