Beneficial Ownership: Tackling Hidden Company Ownership Through Myanmar’s EITI Process
Myanmar is one of many countries where the oil, gas and mining industries have long been synonymous with secrecy and dirty dealing. Too often resource riches which could be used to lift populations out of poverty instead fall into the hands of corrupt elites. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard which aims to help change this dynamic by requiring member countries to open the management of their natural resources up to public scrutiny. Myanmar is in the process of implementing EITI, publishing its first report in January 2016; if the next steps are taken seriously, the initiative could help pave the way towards a natural resource sector which benefits the country’s people.
This paper focuses on a new and ground-breaking provision of EITI: a requirement for the identities of the real owners – the ‘beneficial owners’ – of extractive industry companies to be made public. It makes recommendations about the information which needs to be collected and disclosed to make the most of EITI standards on beneficial ownership, and suggests steps to carry out this process successfully in Myanmar.
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