I am honoured to deliver the keynote address and to launch the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Independent Reconciliation Report for the year ending 2011. With the expansion of mining activities comes added responsibility for ensuring transparent, fair and prudent use of the increased revenues from the sector. In 2012, the top 10 mining companies contributed 22% to revenues collected by the National Revenue Authority and 12.1% to the country's Gross Domestic Product. It is projected that extractive revenues could account for as much as 17 per cent of our country’s GDP by 2020 – a figure large enough to finance sustained human development gains but also sizable enough to pose well known negative political and economic impacts. My government is committed to avoiding the negative consequences by ensuring that the natural resource wealth of this country is harnessed responsibly and for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.
Doing this requires strengthened partnership of all stakeholders – government, private sector actors and civil society – so that together, we can surmount the challenges and continue to design and implementeffective regulationsfor wise governance of the sector. A key part of this partnership is ensuring transparency and allowing citizens to demand accountability for the management of our mineral resources.
Mr Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, becoming EITI compliant is one of the ways of ensuring greater transparency and improved governance of the sector.The Independent Reconciliation Report, which I shall launch today, is a key milestone in our long march to becoming EITI compliant. We are proud to engagewith the EITI process that requires reporting on revenue streams from the extractives sector.
My Government puts great emphases on prudent management of our natural resources. Pillar Two of our Agenda for Prosperity focuses on the strategies for ensuring this, and we will leave no stone unturned to deliver on the promises contained in our Agenda for Prosperity.Of great importance to my government is the alignment of our policies and laws with international instruments, including the Natural Resource Charter and the Africa Mining Vision of the African Union. The EITI bill is at an advanced stage of passing parliament and I am looking forward to giving it my presidential assent. A benchmarking of our mineral management regime using the precepts of the Natural Resource Charter is in preparation and shall guide the update of our Core Minerals Policy. We are engaging mining companies to conclude local content compacts for job creation, local business development and expansion and for the benefit of our national economy.
I call on our local and international development partners to support these initiatives of government that will significantly improvethe investment environment, and make the extractive industries play a key role in our country’s economic growth and development efforts.
Getting out The Independent ReconciliationReport has been a challenging journey, and we applaud the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Multi-Stakeholder Group, staff of the Sierra Leone EITI Secretariat, the Extractive Industries Revenue Task Force and the Moore Stephens Company for working tirelessly to put this report together. I must also acknowledge the cooperation received from oil and mining companies as well as recipients of revenues from the extractive industries, for reporting on what they paid and received for the period under review.
The tremendous efforts that have been made by everyone in the production of this report reflect our shared aspirations for transparency and accountability of the extractives sector, economic growth in Sierra Leone and prosperity for all Sierra Leoneans. Trusting that this partnership for meeting our aspirations will be sustained, it is now my honour, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, to formally launch the 2011Independent Reconciliation Report.
God bless you and may God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.