The audit firm that did the first and second Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI) reconciliation are reporting that it is rather difficult to get the stakeholders’ voluntary participation, prompting the Ministry for Energy and Minerals to submit a proposal to the Attorney General for review of legal and regulatory framework.
The review is aimed at compelling extractive mineral companies as well as the respective government organs to comply with TEITI requirements like submitting their tax reports, royalty receipts and any other payments they have made.
Juvinal Betambira, who is a partner in BDO East Africa, the firm providing audit, tax and business advisory services for both private companies as well as government entities said in the second TEITI Independent Reconciliation Report for the year ended 30 June 2010, some taxpayers did not comply with the request to lodge their reporting templates, which offer a guideline to show their various payments.
“Because we lack legal mandate, it is difficult to have them fully comply…and that affects our reconciliation process…” Betambira complained.
Reconciliation is the process where the TEITI collects tax payment receipts from private companies as well as related documents from the government and then prepares a comparison report that shows any discrepancies in between the payment made and receipts availed.
But it has been two years since the last reconciliation and TEITI is now faced with claims by some government agencies and companies who claim data retrieval is uncertain compromising the accuracy of reports.
To avoid the same hurdle in future, Betambira explained that there is need, as advised, for the TEITI secretariat to change the reconciliation period from mid June to the regular year ending 31 December which will coincide with most tax reports.
Such an adjustment might bring about better participation from both taxpayers and Government agencies alike and ensuring that up-to-date and accurate information is collected and published.
The Concern for Development Initiative in Africa (ForDIA) which is a Sub-regional development consulting not-for-profit organization director, Bubelwa Kaiza who is a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), asked all parties concerned to work with TEITI to foster transparency and public awareness of their country’s resources and their exploitation which will in turn instigate accountability.
He said all stakeholders must respond positively to the TEITI requirements and provide unconditional cooperation to facilitate the reconciler’s work. He underscored the relevance of TEITI’s publication especially in a country thought to have such rampant corruption, weak law enforcement and substandard extractive industries technology base.