Transparency in Oil Deals

Tom Alweendo

Energy minister Tom Alweendo should be applauded for agreeing with the International Monetary Fund for Namibia to make all petroleum agreements between the government and oil companies publicly available.

“I couldn’t agree more that transparency is key when negotiating contracts with oil companies; in fact it is key to achieving public acceptance of such contracts,” he said this week.

While Alweendo acknowledges that transparency is key to combating perceptions of corruption, his words need to be translated into action. As the minister of mines for nearly seven years, he has yet to implement any modern transparency measures.

The question remains: What concrete steps will he take to introduce these much-needed reforms?

To start with, the energy ministry under his watch has been worryingly secretive about the beneficial owners of Namibia’s oil blocks. Last year, the ministry even claimed it couldn’t provide this information.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that some ministry officials are colluding with business people to keep information hidden from the public.

A lack of transparency leaves Namibia’s oil and gas sector vulnerable to national and international crime, corruption, dirty money and terrorism financing.

This is why it’s crucial for Namibia to join organisations such as the Norwegian-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

EITI requires member countries to disclose information along the extractive industry value chain – from how extraction rights are awarded to how revenue makes its way through the government and benefits the public.

We hope Alweendo seizes this opportunity to enact new regulations, ensuring transparent oil deals and a system that will withstand corruption.

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