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Seepersad-Bachan: TT endorses EITI principles

Thursday, March 24 2011

Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector is on the upswing and Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan says the Government is “doing things differently” to honour its commitment to serve the people in an equitable, transparent and open manner.

The minister made the declaration at the recent fifth global conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Paris, France.

“In our collective efforts to end poverty and deliver safer, more meaningful livelihoods, we cannot fail We must not fail....I give the assurance to colleagues gathered here that TT accepts and endorses the EITI Principles and shall satisfy fully, the EITI Criteria for us to become EITI compliant,” Seepersad-Bachan said.

TT’s 15-member EITI Steering Committee is headed by former TT Transparency Institute chairman Victor Hart.

They have been given 26 months and a TT $10 million or US $1.5 million budget to produce a first Validation Report by February 28, 2013.

Seepersad-Bachan gave a breakdown of the Committee’s budget during her Paris speech.

“The funding will be a mix of (a) budget-support grants from the World Bank and the European Union, (b) a budget-support soft loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and direct funding by the Government of TT. Additional sources of funding will be explored,” she said.

The energy minister also spoke of this country’s rating on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index - 3.6 on a scale of zero to ten last year and a ranking of 73 out of 178 countries.

Seepersad-Bachan said this leaves room for improvement.

“As I have committed to the citizens of my country, I also commit to colleagues that the work entailed in delivering an improved rating, will be done,” she said.

The energy minister said Government’s commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative would enhance its ability to attract greater investments and technical support from investors and financial institutions such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the IMF.

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