La République du Congo obtient un score global modéré dans la mise en œuvre de la Norme ITIE 2019
Résultat de la Validation du la République du Congo
EITI Articles of Association 2019-2021, Article 12.1. ix)
1 March 2023
Décision du Conseil d'administration
La République du Congo a obtenu un score global modéré dans la mise en œuvre de la Norme ITIE 2019 (70,5 points). Le score global est une moyenne des scores des trois composantes afférentes à l’engagement des parties prenantes, à la transparence, et aux résultats et à l’impact.
La République du Congo obtient un score modéré sur les résultats et l’impact (74,5 points). Cela reflète l’utilisation qu’a faite la République du Congo de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE pour générer le débat et soutenir les réformes dans le domaine de la divulgation des contrats et des dépenses quasi budgétaires entre autres, malgré les restrictions liées à la pandémie de COVID-19. Le Conseil d’administration félicite la République du Congo pour son utilisation innovante de ses divulgations ITIE y compris dans un rapport thématique sur la modélisation financière des projets pétroliers clés ainsi que l’analyse des ventes de pétrole et du coût. Le Conseil d’administration encourage l’appropriation et l’utilisation de ce travail par différentes parties prenantes. L’ITIE Congo a opéré un suivi des recommandations donnant lieu à l’inclusion d’anciennes dépenses quasi budgétaires dans le budget national ainsi qu’à une divulgation exemplaire des contrats miniers, pétroliers et gaziers. L’ITIE Congo pourrait améliorer sa supervision des résultats et de l’impact de la mise en œuvre et mener davantage d’activités de sensibilisation afin de générer une plus grande utilisation des données extractives et stimuler le débat public sur les industries extractives. Le Conseil d’administration félicite les parties prenantes en République du Congo pour leurs efforts d’amélioration de l’accessibilité des données divulguées par l’ITIE ou par les systèmes gouvernementaux et des entreprises, particulièrement sur les contrats extractifs, les registres de licences et les états financiers consolidés de l’entreprise d’État par exemple.
Le Conseil d’administration félicite la République du Congo pour ses efforts d’amélioration des divulgations dans tout le secteur amont, pétrolier, gazier et minier, y compris les efforts entrepris pendant le processus de Validation, résultant en un score modéré pour la composante transparence de la Validation (81 points). En plus de divulgations déjà détaillées pour les ventes en nature, la République du Congo, avec le soutien du FMI et de la Banque mondiale, a réformé ses systèmes gouvernementaux et utilisé son rapportage ITIE pour produire de nouvelles informations sur les dépenses quasi budgétaires, les accords de troc et les registres de licences et contrats accessibles au public. Le Conseil d’administration souligne également l’amélioration de la qualité et la ponctualité des divulgations de l’entreprise d’État SNPC. Les cadastres miniers et pétroliers ont été lancés depuis la dernière Validation. D’autres aspects nouveaux de la Norme ITIE 2019 restent cependant à améliorer, par exemple les déclarations par projet et la propriété effective. Ces aspects ne sont pas mis en œuvre de façon complète malgré des efforts visibles. L’ITIE Congo a fait des progrès significatifs pour clarifier plusieurs aspects de la gestion des revenus pétroliers non transférés au compte unique du Trésor, y compris les remboursements de prêts garantis par le pétrole et des travaux d’infrastructure financés par la Chine, des négociants en matière première ainsi qu’ENI. Tous les versements déduits de la part de production de l’État sont à présent inclus dans le budget national et les transactions entre l’État et la raffinerie national CORAF ont pu bénéficier d’une plus grande transparence vis-à-vis du public. Ces évolutions récentes permettent d’analyser les pratiques actuelles et passées, par exemple de comparer ces accords avec des accords conventionnels ou d’examiner dans une étude indépendante les accords adossés aux matières premières. Le Conseil d’administration félicite l’ITIE Congo d’avoir étendu son travail au secteur forestier pour répondre à la demande du public d’obtenir des données crédibles sur ce secteur en croissance. L’ITIE peut encore étendre son champ d’application à des domaines attirant de plus en plus l’attention du public comme l’impact environnemental des industries extractives, la taxe maritime et le contenu local dans les industries extractives. Le Conseil d’administration encourage la République du Congo à étendre encore l’utilisation de ses divulgations ITIE pour renforcer la transparence dans l’octroi de droits miniers et dans la gestion des dépenses sociales et environnementales. La République du Congo poursuivra et systématisera ses efforts pour améliorer la transparence entourant les remboursements de prêts et les transferts à la CORAF ainsi que la gestion des comptes en séquestre liés à l’accord chinois. La mise en place de rapportage en ligne et de systèmes de certification des données permettra à la République du Congo d’améliorer la fiabilité des données financières déclarées par le truchement de l’ITIE et de renforcer davantage la ponctualité des divulgations ITIE.
Sur l’engagement des parties prenantes, la République du Congo obtient un score assez faible (56,5 points). La pandémie de COVID-19 et les contraintes de disponibilité de fonctionnaires haut placés du gouvernement ont limité les opérations du GMP. Cet affaiblissement de l’engagement du gouvernement a donné lieu à des défis pour la supervision de la mise en œuvre par le GMP et à certaines lacunes dans la divulgation. Des entreprises extractives privées, surtout dans le secteur pétrolier, ont limité leur engagement à fournir des données pour les rapports ITIE et à déléguer des participants aux événements ITIE, au détriment de leur participation à d’autres aspects de la mise en œuvre et au débat public. Le collège de la société civile reste un moteur clé de la mise en œuvre pendant cette période et il a utilisé son engagement à l’ITIE pour soutenir des progrès dans le domaine de la transparence. Alors que le contexte élargi reste difficile pour la société civile, l’ITIE a agi pour protéger et rendre plus robuste l’espace civique lié au processus ITIE. Aucun rapport de violation du protocole de la participation de la société civile n’a été enregistré depuis la dernière Validation. Le Conseil d’administration soutient ces efforts et appelle toutes les parties prenantes à maintenir un engagement fort à l’ITIE, y compris par une participation au débat public sur la gouvernance des ressources naturelles.
Le Conseil d’administration a établi que la République du Congo aura jusqu'à la prochaine Validation, commençant le 1er avril 2025, pour mettre en place des mesures correctives concernant l'engagement du gouvernement (Exigence 1.1), l'engagement de l'industrie (Exigence 1.2), l'engagement de la société civile (Exigence 1. 3), la supervision du Groupe multipartite (Exigence 1.4), le plan de travail (Exigence 1.5), les octrois de contrats et de licences (Exigence 2.2), la propriété effective (Exigence 2.5), les accords de troc (Exigence 4.3), les paiements infranationaux directs (Exigence 4.6), la désagrégation (Exigence 4.7), la distribution des revenus (Exigence 5.1), les dépenses sociales et environnementales (Exigence 6.1), les dépenses quasi-fiscales des entreprises d'État (Exigence 6.2), le débat public (Exigence 7.1) et les résultats et impact (Exigence 7.4). Conformément à l'article 6 de la Norme ITIE, en cas d’absence de progrès sur l'engagement des parties prenantes, les résultats et l'impact ou la transparence lors de la prochaine Validation, une suspension temporaire pourra s’appliquer. En vertu de la Norme ITIE, le GMP de l’ITIE République du Congo peut demander une prorogation de ce délai ou demander que la Validation commence plus tôt que prévu.
Mesures correctives et recommandations stratégiques
Le Conseil d’administration de l’ITIE a convenu que la République du Congo devra prendre la mesure corrective suivante. Les progrès réalisés dans la prise de cette mesure corrective seront évalués au cours de la prochaine Validation, qui commencera le 1er avril 2025:
Aux termes de l’Exigence 1.5.e-f, la République du Congo devra veiller à ce que le plan de travail de l’ITIE soit examiné et mis à jour chaque année, tout en le mettant largement à la disposition du public, afin de s’assurer qu’il constitue un document de redevabilité clé pour le Groupe multipartite à l’égard des collèges et du public. Conformément à l’Exigence 1.5.b, la République du Congo devra faire en sorte que le plan de travail de l’ITIE tienne compte des résultats des consultations menées avec les principales parties prenantes. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à envisager d’accompagner le plan de travail annuel de l’ITIE d’un cadre de suivi et d’évaluation.
Conformément à l’Exigence 7.1, la République du Congo doit veiller à ce que les divulgations faites par le gouvernement et les entreprises soient intelligibles, activement promues et publiquement accessibles et à ce qu’elles contribuent au débat public. Elle doit faire en sorte que les informations soient largement diffusées et facilement accessibles et que des événements de sensibilisation, qu’ils soient de l’initiative du gouvernement, de la société civile ou des entreprises, soient organisés pour informer le public et encourager le dialogue sur la gouvernance des ressources extractives, d’une manière socialement inclusive et en s’appuyant sur les divulgations ITIE dans tout le pays.
Conformément à l’Exigence 7.4.a.v, la République du Congo devra faire en sorte que son examen annuel des résultats et de l’impact de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE soit plus régulière, comprenant une présentation détaillée des efforts visant à renforcer l’impact de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE sur la gouvernance des ressources naturelles, y compris toute mesure destinée à étendre les détails et le champ d’application de la déclaration ITIE ou à renforcer l’engagement des parties prenantes au-delà du Groupe Multipartite. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, l’ITIE Congo est encouragée à documenter les mesures prises pour tenir compte de l’égalité entre les sexes et de l’inclusivité. En conformité avec l’Exigence 7.4.b, toutes les parties prenantes devront être en mesure de participer à l’examen de l’impact de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE.
Aux termes de l’Exigence 1.1, le gouvernement devra s’assurer qu’il est pleinement, activement et effectivement engagé dans tous les aspects du processus ITIE, notamment dans sa direction des aspects opérationnels de la mise en œuvre tels que la facilitation d’une supervision cohérente par le Groupe multipartite du processus et de prises de décisions régulières.
Conformément à l’Exigence 1.2, le collège des entreprises devra veiller à être pleinement, activement et effectivement engagé dans tous les aspects du processus ITIE, notamment en contribuant et en participant aux réunions du Groupe multipartite, en s’engageant à résoudre les difficultés dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre, en sensibilisant les parties prenantes qui ne sont pas membres du Groupe multipartite, et en utilisant les données ITIE et d’autres informations pour promouvoir le débat public.
En conformité avec l’Exigence 1.3, le collège de la société civile au sens large est tenu de démontrer qu’il est engagé pleinement, activement et efficacement dans tous les aspects du processus ITIE, y compris les parties prenantes qui ne sont pas directement représentées au sein du Groupe multipartite. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, le Groupe multipartite est encouragé à suivre régulièrement et à promouvoir les développements concernant la capacité de la société civile à s'engager dans tous les aspects du processus ITIE. La République du Congo est fortement encouragée à poursuivre ses efforts et à mettre en œuvre des plans visant à renforcer un environnement propice à la participation de la société civile en ce qui concerne les lois, les règlements et les règles administratives pertinentes ainsi que la pratique réelle dans la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE. En particulier, la République du Congo pourrait donner la priorité, avec le suivi du Groupe multipartite, aux progrès dans l’élaboration d’une législation consacrée à la protection de l’espace civique, en s’inspirant des leçons tirées des interventions de l’ITIE pour lever les contraintes ad hoc sur les événements de diffusion et de sensibilisation de la société civile. Le collège de la société civile est encouragé à étendre le renforcement des capacités et l’engagement d’un plus grand nombre de représentants de la société civile pour renforcer la durabilité de l’engagement de la société civile dans tous les aspects du processus ITIE.
Aux termes de l’Exigence 1.4, la République du Congo devra s’assurer que son Groupe multipartite exerce une supervision régulière sur le processus ITIE, notamment par l’approbation en temps utile des principaux documents de l’ITIE tels que les Rapports ITIE, les plans de travail et les rapports d’avancement annuels. Les membres du Groupe multipartite devront communiquer avec leurs collèges.
Conformément à l’Exigence 2.2, la République du Congo devra renforcer ses divulgations publiques des critères techniques et financiers évalués dans les transferts de participations pétrolières. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo pourra mener son diagnostic des pratiques d’octroi de contrats et de licences par rapport aux droits extractifs accordés les années précédant la période couverte par la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE.
Conformément à l’Exigence 2.5, la République du Congo est tenue de divulguer l’identité des bénéficiaires effectifs de toutes les entreprises qui détiennent une licence extractive ou en soumettent une demande. Pour atteindre cette cible, la République du Congo devra établir un cadre juridique et réglementaire favorable à la collecte et la divulgation publique des informations sur la propriété effective de toutes les entreprises pétrolières, gazières et minières, comprenant des définitions appropriées de la propriété effective et couvrant les personnes politiquement exposées. La République du Congo, suite à la recommandation de l'étude de juin 2022 sur la propriété effective, devra fournir des garanties adéquates relativement à la fiabilité des données soumises. Le gouvernement est encouragé à établir un registre public des bénéficiaires effectifs. La République du Congo est encouragée à convenir de priorités pour les divulgations sur la propriété effective et à planifier les efforts à déployer dans ce cadre en vue d’obtenir ces données. Par exemple, la République du Congo pourrait privilégier les divulgations soumises par certains types d’entreprises ou par celles détenant un type donné de licence ou produisant une matière première spécifique, compte tenu des risques associés à la corruption, à l’évasion fiscale ou au contournement des dispositions en matière de participation locale. Ces priorités devront orienter les efforts de sensibilisation auprès des entreprises et leur fournir des conseils. La République du Congo pourrait envisager d'étendre la portée de la transparence de la propriété réelle à d'autres secteurs au-delà des industries extractives en amont, y compris aux entreprises qui achètent les revenus en nature de l'État.
Conformément à l’Exigence 6.2, la République du Congo devra passer en revue tous les types de dépenses des entreprises nationales extractives afin de recenser les dépenses susceptibles d’être classées comme quasi budgétaires, par exemple les éventuels arriérés impayés par le CORAF en échange d'anciennes livraisons de pétrole par l'État. Congo-ITIE devrait également clarifier la gestion du compte séquestre dédié à l'accord avec la Chine. L’ITIE Congo est tenue de préparer un processus de déclaration des dépenses quasi budgétaires des entreprises d’État en vue d’atteindre un niveau de transparence proportionnel aux autres paiements et flux de revenus et doit y inclure les filiales des entreprises d’État et les exploitations conjointes. L’ITIE Congo est invitée à prendre en compte la définition des dépenses quasi budgétaires du FMI lorsqu’il s’agit de déterminer si des dépenses sont considérées comme quasi budgétaires.
Conformément à l’Exigence 4.3, la République du Congo devra veiller à la divulgation publique des principales conditions de tout accord ou ensemble d’accords impliquant la fourniture de biens et de services (y compris des prêts et des travaux d’infrastructure), en échange total ou partiel de concessions pétrolières, gazières ou minières ou de la livraison physique de ces matières premières à des parties spécifiques désignées dans le cadre de l’accord. Cela devrait inclure les accords dans lesquels il y a une livraison physique de pétrole brut à des acheteurs spécifiques en remboursement de prêts ou de la fourniture de travaux d’infrastructure, tels que des accords de préfinancement. Pour pouvoir le faire, le Groupe multipartite doit divulguer la valeur du flux d'avantages d'équilibrage (par exemple, les travaux d'infrastructure) et évaluer si les accords offrent une juste valeur au gouvernement par rapport aux accords extractifs conventionnels. Cela pourrait également inclure des informations sur la gestion et la surveillance des fonds du compte séquestre dédié à l'accord avec la Chine. L’ITIE Congo est tenue de convenir d’une procédure pour traiter la qualité des données et l’exactitude des informations énoncées ci-dessus, conformément à l’Exigence 4.9 et à l’Article 66 du Code sur la transparence de mars 2017.
Conformément à l’Exigence 4.7, la République du Congo devra veiller à ce que les informations publiques sur les paiements des entreprises et les revenus gouvernementaux provenant des industries extractives soient ventilées par entité gouvernementale, par flux de revenus, par entreprise et, le cas échéant, par projet pour tous les revenus extractifs considérés comme significatifs pour la déclaration ITIE. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, il est instamment demandé à l’ITIE Congo de documenter quelles formes d’accords juridiques constituent un projet, conformément à la définition de l’Exigence 4.7, et quels accords juridiques comportent des corrélations substantielles ou sont primordiaux.
En vertu de l’Exigence 5.1, la République du Congo devra s’assurer de la divulgation publique des revenus de l’industrie extractive, en espèces ou en nature, qui sont inscrits au budget national. Lorsque les revenus ne sont pas enregistrés dans le budget national, l’allocation de ces revenus doit être expliquée publiquement, en se référant aux rapports financiers pertinents le cas échéant, par exemple, toute entité extrabudgétaire ou tout compte séquestre.
Conformément à l’Exigence 6.1, la République du Congo devra veiller à la divulgation publique de toutes les dépenses sociales des entreprises extractives mandatées par la loi, la réglementation ou les contrats, lorsque ces paiements sont significatifs. La République du Congo devra assurer la divulgation publique de tous les paiements effectués par les entreprises extractives au gouvernement en matière d’environnement, conformément à la loi, à la réglementation ou au contrat, lorsque ces paiements sont significatifs. Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre à la lumière d’un intérêt public notable, la République du Congo est encouragée à envisager de garantir la divulgation publique des dépenses sociales discrétionnaires des entreprises extractives et des paiements environnementaux à des tiers, lorsqu’ils sont significatifs.
La République du Congo est encouragée à examiner les recommandations suivantes en vue de renforcer la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE:
Résultats et impact
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à assurer la divulgation systématique de données lisibles par machine et interopérables ainsi qu’à coder ou identifier les divulgations ITIE et d’autres fichiers de données, de manière à pouvoir comparer les informations avec d’autres données publiques.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à renforcer la documentation publique du suivi par l’ITIE Congo des recommandations provenant de la déclaration ITIE et de la Validation, en vue de renforcer davantage la redevabilité publique de ses efforts pour s’assurer que l’ITIE soutient des réformes générales dans la gouvernance du secteur extractif.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo pourrait envisager de travailler avec les ministères compétents chargés des secteurs pétrolier, minier et forestier, en vue de renforcer leurs divulgations systématiques des informations sur le secteur extractif, notamment les activités de prospection de grande envergure.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à utiliser l’ITIE pour soutenir la mise en œuvre de réformes planifiées en partenariat avec le FMI, relativement aux divulgations systématiques des rapports trimestriels sur le secteur pétrolier précisant la production physique et les flux des exportations, ainsi que les transferts des produits des ventes à l’État.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à améliorer son utilisation des divulgations de données ITIE afin d’assurer un suivi des réformes en cours et planifiées dans le cadre juridique et le régime fiscal applicables au secteur extractif et à examiner les moyens permettant d’étendre les divulgations systématiques de ces informations par le gouvernement.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est appelée à exécuter son travail en vue de publier une liste de l’ensemble des contrats et licences actifs, en indiquant ceux qui sont accessibles au public et ceux qui ne le sont pas. Pour tous les contrats et licences publiés, une référence ou un lien vers le lieu de publication du contrat ou de la licence devra être inclus(e). La République du Congo est encouragée à améliorer davantage l’accessibilité de l’ensemble des contrats et licences extractifs en centralisant l’accès au texte complet de chaque document.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à utiliser sa déclaration ITIE afin de présenter un aperçu des dispositions juridiques et des règles administratives pertinentes ainsi que des pratiques réellement appliquées en termes de gestion de l’environnement et de suivi des investissements extractifs dans le pays. La déclaration ITIE de la République du Congo pourra contenir des informations sur les procédures régulières de suivi environnemental, les processus administratifs et de sanction des gouvernements, ainsi que sur les responsabilités environnementales et les programmes de réhabilitation de l’environnement.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à poursuivre les efforts qu’elle déploie en vue de moderniser le portail cadastral pour le secteur minier, qui couvre toutes les informations prévues à l’Exigence 2.3.b et répond aux besoins des groupes de parties prenantes clés.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à travailler dans le cadre de son programme du FMI pour renforcer la divulgation systématique par l’État d’informations sur la participation de l’État dans les industries extractives, en particulier dans la SNPC et ses filiales. La République du Congo est encouragée à décrire publiquement les règles et les pratiques relatives aux dépenses d’exploitation et d’investissement, à la passation des marchés, à la sous-traitance et à la gouvernance d’entreprise des entreprises d’État.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est fortement encouragé de faire un usage accru de la déclaration ITIE en vue de divulguer une description du processus de sélection des entreprises acheteuses, les critères techniques et financiers utilisés pour effectuer la sélection, la liste des entreprises acheteuses sélectionnées, tout écart significatif par rapport au cadre juridique et réglementaire applicable régissant la sélection des entreprises acheteuses, et les accords de vente correspondants. Les entreprises qui achètent du pétrole et du gaz à l’État, au-delà des entités qui soutiennent l’ITIE au niveau international, sont encouragées à divulguer les volumes reçus de l’État ou d’une entreprise d’État et les paiements effectués pour l’achat de pétrole et de gaz. La République du Congo est encouragée à discuter des allégations des médias concernant des irrégularités dans les achats de pétrole brut auprès de la compagnie pétrolière nationale SNPC et à divulguer les informations pertinentes qui pourraient améliorer la transparence des ventes de pétrole et le commerce en matières premières de l'État.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à travailler avec la SNPC, entreprise pétrolière nationale, la Direction des ressources nationales du ministère des Finances, du Budget et du Portefeuille public pour systématiser les divulgations de transactions impliquant des entreprises d’État, y compris le niveau de ventilation des paiements à l’État dans les états financiers des entreprises d’État.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à étudier les moyens permettant de systématiser les divulgations des volumes et des valeurs de production des matières premières extractives, en s’appuyant sur les divulgations systématiques existantes telles que celles émanant du portail pétrolier et gazier du ministère des Hydrocarbures et en élaborant des systèmes similaires dans les secteurs minier et forestier.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à étudier les moyens permettant de systématiser les divulgations des volumes et des valeurs des exportations de matières premières extractives, par exemple par le biais de rapports trimestriels planifiés sur le pétrole qui seront publiés par le ministère des Finances, du Budget et du Portefeuille public.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, il est attendu des entreprises extractives qu’elles divulguent publiquement leurs états financiers audités ou, si cette information n’est pas disponible, leurs principaux éléments financiers (c’est-à-dire, le bilan, le compte de résultat, les flux de trésorerie).
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo pourrait souhaiter publier des informations et une analyse plus spécifique et plus complète de la « taxe maritime » au cours des années de mise en œuvre de l’ITIE, un prélèvement sur les exportations de pétrole qui, bien qu’il s’agisse d’un prélèvement pour l’utilisation des eaux territoriales du pays plutôt que d’une taxe, est une question d’intérêt public importante.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à poursuivre ses efforts en vue d’améliorer encore la ponctualité de ses déclarations ITIE, y compris par des moyens innovants permettant de tirer parti des divulgations systématiques par l’État des données exigées par la norme ITIE.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo pourra utiliser sa mise en œuvre de l’ITIE comme outil de diagnostic annuel afin de formuler des recommandations visant à renforcer les systèmes et les pratiques d’audit de routine et d’assurance qualité de l’État et des entreprises extractives.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à exploiter sa mise en œuvre de l’ITIE pour garantir des divulgations régulières et ponctuelles par l’État, ce qui favoriserait la compréhension et le débat publics sur les questions de durabilité des revenus et de dépendance aux ressources, y compris les hypothèses qui sous-tendent les prochaines années du cycle budgétaire et qui concernent la production prévue, les prix des matières premières et les prévisions de revenus provenant des industries extractives, ainsi que la proportion des revenus fiscaux attendus du secteur extractif.
Pour renforcer la mise en œuvre, la République du Congo est encouragée à utiliser sa déclaration ITIE afin de suivre la mise en œuvre des dispositions statutaires applicables au transfert infranational d’une part des revenus pétroliers et forestiers perçus au niveau national. La République du Congo est encouragée à mettre en œuvre ces dispositions statutaires de transfert infranational dans la pratique. Dans l’intervalle, l’ITIE Congo est invitée à poursuivre ses efforts pour divulguer les calculs des transferts infranationaux des revenus de l’extraction selon la formule de partage des revenus pertinente, de manière aussi ventilée que possible.
Le gouvernement et le Groupe multipartite sont encouragés à se pencher sur ces recommandations et à documenter les réponses que le Groupe multipartite y aura apportées dans le cadre du prochain examen annuel des résultats et de l’impact de la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE.
Le Conseil d’administration a conclu en septembre 2020 que le Congo avait fait des «progrès significatifs» dans la mise en œuvre de la Norme ITIE 2016. La Validation suivante de la République du Congo devait démarrer le 1er avril 2022. Au mois de décembre 2020, le Conseil d’administration de l’ITIE a adopté un calendrier de Validation révisé, selon lequel la Validation de la République du Congo commencerait le 1er juillet 2022. La Validation a démarré le 1er juillet 2022.
L’ITIE Congo a compilé la documentation pour la Validation à l’aide des modèles de collecte des données adoptés par le Conseil d’administration pour l’engagement des parties prenantes, la transparence et les résultats et impact. Les dossiers sont à consulter sur le site internet de l’ITIE Congo. L’équipe de Validation du Secrétariat international a préparé une évaluation initiale conformément à la procédure de Validationet au Guide de la Validation. Conformément à la procédure de Validation, un appel public à points de vue des parties prenantes sur la mise en œuvre de l’ITIE a été ouvert entre le 15 mai 2022 et le 1er juillet 2022. Des consultations virtuelles de parties prenantes ont été organisées du 25 juillet 2022 au 10 août 2022. Le projet d’évaluation a été transmis au GMP pour commentaires le 23 septembre 2022. Suite à une demande de prorogation du délai pour envoyer des commentaires sur le projet de rapport de Validation le 7 octobre 2022, les commentaires du GMP ont été reçus le 18 novembre 2022 suite à quoi l’évaluation a été finalisée pour examen par le Comité de Validation.
Conformément à l'article 4.c de la section 4 de la Norme ITIE 2019, l'évaluation globale comprend les scores des composantes sur l'engagement des parties prenantes, sur la transparence et sur les résultats et l'impact, ainsi qu'un score chiffré global. Le score des composantes représente une moyenne des points attribués pour chaque exigence qui est d’application. Les points attribués pour les indicateurs d’efficacité et de durabilité seront ajoutés au score de la composante résultats et impact. Le score global est la moyenne des trois notes des composantes.
Scorecard for Republic of the Congo: 2022
Assessment of EITI requirements
The three components of Validation each receive a score out of 100, as follows:
Outcomes and impact
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment of EITI Requirements
Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.
Outcomes and impact
Effectiveness and sustainability indicators
1.5 Work plan
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.5 is mostly met, which represents back-sliding since the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of aligning EITI implementation objectives with national priorities had been fulfilled. Yet several government and civil society stakeholders conceded that there was not consistently a public EITI work plan in place throughout the period under review, even if the draft work plan had been approved in February 2021 subject to further refinements in light of MSG members’ comments. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of the annual EITI work plan providing a key accountability document for the MSG vis-à-vis broader constituencies and the public has been mostly achieved in the period under review given delays in publishing the 2021-22 work plan and the limited evidence of consultations with some broader constituencies in its development, particularly among extractive companies.
The Republic of Congo’s EITI work plan for 2020 was approved and published ahead of the start of the previous Validation. The MSG approved the draft 2021-22 work plan at its February 2021 meeting subject to further improvements in light of MSG members’ comments, and continued to discuss the work plan at successive meetings in 2021. The final version of the 2021-22 work plan was approved and published in June 2022. The MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template is transparent about the delays in developing and publishing the work plan, due to delays in MSG meetings and discussions around funding and capacity building activities. Despite the delays in approving the 2021-22 work plan, the MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template states that all activities planned for 2021 were implemented on schedule. Opinions were split on this issue, with several stakeholders noting that many activities originally planned for 2021 had been delayed.
The level of consultations with key stakeholder groups beyond MSG members is unclear. The ‘Outcomes and impact’ template describes the process for developing the EITI work plan, which consists of the EITI Congo Secretariat submitting a draft for input by MSG members. The template notes that a particular focus of the 2021-22 work plan consisted of preparations for the Republic of Congo’s third EITI Validation. The MSG discussed the work plan at successive meetings in 2021, although records of these meetings do not indicate input to the work plan from MSG members based on consultations with the broader constituencies aside from comments from civil society highlighting the importance of planning outreach and dissemination activities. Consultations with civil society and the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template indicate that MSG members consulted with the broader civil society constituency in developing the work plan. Consultations with companies confirmed that there had not been specific consultation on the development of the EITI work plan with the broader constituency.
The objectives of the 2021-22 work plan are similar to the 2020 work plan assessed in the previous Validation, although the work plan includes a narrative section explicitly linking these EITI objectives to national priorities such as the 2022-26 National Development Plan. Activities under the work plan’s third objective relate to the integration of EITI implementation in government and company systems, building on the Extractive Revenues Conciliation System (SYSCORE), the Legal Verification Information System (SIVL) and the OGAS hydrocarbons information system. The Secretariat understands that the SYSCORE has since been subsumed into the Ministry of Finance and Budget’s broader Government Revenues and Liabilities System (SYSPACE). The third objective also plans activities for improving the EITI’s contribution to public debate about natural resource governance by stimulating the use of information systems on the hydrocarbons and forestry sectors. Most importantly, the work plan includes activities related to the use of EITI data to inform public debate and policymaking, including the EITI Congo’s financial modelling project in the hydrocarbons sector. The MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template confirms the alignment of the EITI work plan objectives with national priorities as codified in the 2018-22 National Development Plan.
The 2021-22 work plan outlines measurable and time-bound activities that are planned by quarter, with the related cost and source of funding provided by activity. The work plan’s timeframes for activities appears aligned with deadlines for EITI reporting and Validation. The work plan includes activities related to capacity building for MSG members and EITI focal points in government and companies on the EITI process, for the three broader constituencies on beneficial ownership, and for civil society and government entities on civic space. Some activities relate to strengthening government and companies’ systematic disclosures of EITI data, with activities related to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio’s State Debt Payment Tracking System (SYSPACE) related to addressing technical aspects of the comprehensiveness and reliability of EITI disclosures. The work plan identifies plans to address legal obstacles to implementation through activities related to proposing draft legislation on beneficial ownership transparency and the protection of civic space. The work plan includes a general activity related to following up on EITI recommendations and a broader objective (number 2) on preparing for Validation, although the activities related to following up on corrective actions from Validation are more detailed than those related to recommendations from EITI Reports. The work plan addresses plans for beneficial ownership transparency, including clear milestones and timeframes. While activities related to improving the accessibility of published contracts are not highlighted in the work plan as such, it does include activities related to the use of published extractive contracts, including through the EITI Congo’s financial modelling project. However, the lack of regular public updates to the work plan and insufficient stakeholder consultations in the development of the work plan remain a concern.
The EITI Congo does not yet appear to have linked its annual work plan to a monitoring, evaluation and learning framework, as encouraged by Requirement 1.5.
7.1 Public debate
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.1 is mostly met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of the EITI enabling evidence-based public debate on extractive industry governance had been achieved, although opinions were split over whether all three constituencies had actively communicated relevant data to key stakeholders in ways that are accessible and reflect stakeholders’ needs. The Secretariat’s view is that the EITI has led to public debate in the period under review, but that, given that the active dissemination and use of data has been driven primarily by the civil society constituency, the objective remains mostly met. More proactive outreach and dissemination by EITI Congo, as planned with World Bank support, and by other constituencies including companies would further strengthen the EITI’s contribution to public debate. A senior government official noted that EITI Congo had held workshops and TV debates on the EITI, but highlighted plans to strengthen this work under the current funding from the World Bank’s Integrated Public Sector Reform Project (Projet des Réformes Intégrées du Secteur Public – PRISP).
The three (2018, 2019 and 2020) EITI Reports completed in the period under review have been published on the websites of EITI Congo, of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio and of civil society organisation RPDH. EITI Congo does not appear to have produced summaries or thematic briefs on the findings of the last three EITI Reports, but leading CSOs such as RPDH and CDJP have published position papers and reports making use of EITI on specific themes, including contract transparency, resource-backed loans and budget execution. Civil society’s analysis of EITI data has included work on comparing extractive revenues to total government revenues. EITI Congo’s project on financial modelling of several oil projects represents an innovative use of EITI data on contracts, production costs and oil sales, with the first report and underlying financial models published on the EITI Congo website in June 2022. A senior government official highlighted plans to institutionalise such financial modelling and oil sales analysis reports. There is evidence of use of EITI data by both civil society and, anecdotally, by government, including by the national branch of the regional central bank, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio, and the line Ministries for the petroleum, mining and forestry sectors, including in their engagements with development partners such as the IMF and World Bank. EITI Congo has used internships for university students to encourage more use of EITI data, with two Master’s theses written about EITI Congo and published on the EITI Congo website.
EITI Congo has not yet agreed a dedicated communications strategy to frame its outreach and dissemination efforts. While there is little evidence of the MSG explicitly considering the information needs and access challenges of different stakeholder groups, EITI Congo appears to have prioritised outreach to civil society and journalists, while civil society outreach has focused on civil society and communities hosting extractive activities, particularly around Pointe Noire. However, several government and civil society stakeholders consulted highlighted the need for EITI Congo to undertake more capacity building of key audiences, particularly civil society, to strengthen their ability to use and analyse EITI data. Some government representatives noted their intention for EITI Congo outreach and dissemination activities to go beyond the traditional target audiences of civil society and the media to also reach new audiences such as members of parliament and politicians.
While EITI Congo did not undertake any outreach and dissemination activities in 2020, several government and civil society stakeholders consulted explained that this was due to the combination of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, a newly appointed MSG in early 2020 and the aftermath of the 2020 EITI Validation. EITI Congo held a public outreach workshop in February 2021 to discuss the outcomes of the 2020 EITI Validation, and one workshop each in Pointe Noire and Dolisie in December 2021 to disseminate findings of the 2018 EITI Report, with a report on the events published on the EITI Congo website. Dissemination workshops were held for the 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports in Brazzaville in June 2022 and in Pointe Noire in July 2022. The MSG also held an outreach event to raise awareness about the EITI protocol: Participation of civil society for government officials in Brazzaville in July 2022. EITI Congo has held capacity building workshops for MSG members and reporting government entities and companies related to beneficial ownership in October 2021 and February 2022, and to preparations of templates for this Validation in June 2022. However, there is evidence of additional public workshops held by civil society organisations part of the PWYP Congo coalition in 2020, 2021 and 2022 (see Requirement 1.3).
Government and civil society stakeholders explained that delays in the World Bank’s Integrated Public Sector Reform Project (PRISP) had meant that only around four of the 20 outreach and dissemination planned workshops had been held to date, with the remaining sessions outside of Brazzaville planned for the second half of 2022. A government representative also explained that several dissemination events had been postponed beyond the campaign for the July 2022 legislative elections to avoid confusion between EITI events and political campaigns.
7.2 Data accessibility and open data
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.2 is fully met. Several stakeholders from government and civil society considered that the objective of enabling the broader use and analysis of information on the extractive industries had been fulfilled, although opinions were split over whether the objective of consistent publication of information in open data and interoperable formats had been achieved. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of enabling broader use of EITI data has been fully achieved, but that there is scope for strengthening the publication of all EITI data in open format. EITI Congo has agreed an open data policy, and summary EITI data on revenues and payments is available in open format through the summary data files prepared for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports. The data included in the financial modelling project were also published in open format . Data contained in the latest EITI Report was published in open format in September 2022. Some systematically disclosed data on government websites, such as the petroleum license data available on the Hydrocarbons Ministry cadastral portal, is published in open format, although the majority of government systematic disclosures are not yet in open format. An open data platform developed as part of the SYSCORE reporting platform has been launched on the national EITI website, but does not seem to be functioning as of August 2022.
7.3 Follow up on recommendations
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.3 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered that the objective of ensuring a robust mechanism for following up on EITI recommendations had been fulfilled, driven by civil society and government representatives on the MSG. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has remained fulfilled since the previous Validation despite the broader weaknesses in MSG oversight (see Requirement 1.4).
Records of MSG discussions indicate that EITI Congo has regularly discussed the causes of information gaps and discrepancies, particularly when finalising and approving annual EITI Reports. Minutes of MSG meetings indicates robust multi-stakeholder discussions about the reasons for information gaps, such as those related to the framework agreement with China and beneficial ownership disclosures. The MSG also appears to have extensively discussed the causes of discrepancies in the reconciliation of company payments and government revenues.
The Republic of Congo appears to have continued to take steps to follow up on lessons learned from EITI implementation. Available documentation indicates that EITI Congo has a robust mechanism in place to follow up on recommendations from EITI reporting and Validation. The MSG’s mechanism appears to consist of the MSG’s Data Collection, Implementation and Validation Commission (chaired by the MSG’s third Vice-Chair, from civil society) regularly reviewing recommendations from EITI Reports and Validation, which are then considered by the MSG. The EITI Congo Secretariat appears to maintain a matrix of past EITI recommendations in order to track the status of follow-up and implementation. The 2020 and 2021-22 EITI work plans include general activities related to follow-up on recommendations of EITI Reports and an objective related to preparing for the third Validation, which includes activities related to specific corrective actions from the country’s second Validation in 2020. The three (2018, 2019 and 2020) EITI Reports published since the previous Validation have provided an overview of the status of follow-up on past EITI recommendations. However, the lack of an annual public review of outcomes and impact of EITI implementation published by EITI Congo since the previous Validation indicates that this mechanism for public accountability in the follow-up on past EITI recommendation has weakened in the past two years (see Requirement 7.4).
Nonetheless, the MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template provides an update on the status of follow-up on 17 past recommendations from EITI Reports and ten corrective actions and recommendations from the previous Validation in 2020. Of the 17 past EITI recommendations, five are marked as completed, 11 as in progress and one as not implemented, with an explanation of the MSG’s rationale for not following up on this recommendation. There is evidence of the EITI leading to tangible reforms at the legal, regulatory and administrative levels (see Effectiveness and Sustainability Indicators).
7.4 Review of outcomes and impact of implementation
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 7.4 is mostly met, which represents back-sliding since the previous Validation. Several government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of regular review of the EITI’s outcomes and impacts to ensure the EITI’s public accountability was mostly met in the period under review, given that the MSG regularly discussed the EITI’s outcomes and impact but had not published a dedicated review of the impact of implementation on a regular basis in recent years. The Secretariat’s view concurs with this assessment, given gaps in coverage of the MSG’s review of outcomes and impact and the postponement of the planned impact assessment of EITI Congo.
The Republic of Congo published an annual progress report covering 2021 in June 2022. EITI Congo does not appear to have published a review of EITI outcomes and impact covering 2020, without explanation for the lack of review of outcomes and impact in 2020 in MSG meeting minutes or other documentation. Government stakeholders consulted confirmed that the MSG had not undertaken such a review for 2020 given the many other priorities for EITI Congo in the aftermath of the previous Validation and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual progress report appears to have been drafted by the EITI Congo Secretariat and submitted to the MSG for input. However, there is no documentary evidence that relevant stakeholders beyond MSG members, particularly from industry and civil society, were given an opportunity to provide feedback on the EITI process and have their views reflected in the annual review outcomes and impact in accordance with Requirement 7.4.b.
The 2021 annual progress report provides an overview of activities in 2021, clearly benchmarking progress against relevant activities in the 2021 work plan and identifying activities that were not undertaken. One third (6/18) of activities planned in 2021 were not completed given the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. However, the 2021 annual progress report does not provide an assessment of progress towards each EITI Requirement, nor of steps taken to exceed EITI Requirements, in accordance with Requirement 7.4.a.ii. While the annual progress report does not provide an overview of follow-up on recommendations from EITI reporting and Validation, the three (2018, 2019 and 2020) EITI Reports published since the previous Validation provide the Independent Administrator’s review of progress and the ‘Outcomes and impact’ template for this Validation provides an overview of the status of 17 past EITI recommendations and ten corrective actions and recommendations from the 2020 Validation (see Requirement 7.3). However, there does not appear to have been a mechanism beyond the EITI Report and the Validation template for the MSG to publish annually its own self-assessment of follow-up on past EITI recommendations.
The 2021 annual progress report provides an overview of the outputs and outcomes of individual activities carried out but does not address progress on the broader objectives set out in the 2021-22 work plan. The progress report provides some commentary on recommendations for improving EITI implementation in the country, particularly in terms of communications and dissemination activities. Yet it does not include a narrative account of the impact of the EITI on natural resource governance or efforts to expand the scope of EITI implementation to increase stakeholder engagement in accordance with Requirement 7.4.a.v. The 2021-22 work plan activity related to a standalone impact assessment of EITI implementation in Congo, originally scheduled for Q2 2022, has been postponed. Nonetheless, the ‘Outcomes and impact’ template identifies several EITI Congo activities that are expected to strengthen the EITI’s impact in the country, including its hydrocarbons financial modelling project, the development of an advance legal reform proposal on beneficial ownership transparency, the development of systematic disclosure mechanisms such as SYSPACE, SYSCORE and SIVL, as well as the extension of EITI reporting to the forestry sector. These efforts to strengthen the EITI’s impact, which are ongoing, are covered more extensively under the assessment of effectiveness and sustainability (see ‘Effectiveness and Sustainability Indicators’ section). In its response to the draft Validation Report, the MSG published an extensive review of activities and impact over the last years, using the Validation approved template, although the narrative account of this impact and how to increase stakeholder participation is yet to be formulated. There are also opportunities for improving the regularity of this review.
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment of EITI Requirements
Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.
1.1 Government engagement
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.1 is mostly met, with some backsliding since the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered that the objective of full, active and effective government leadership of the EITI process had been achieved in the period under review. While some government and civil society stakeholders acknowledged the delays in MSG meetings due to the lack of availability of senior government officials to chair meetings, they did not consider this a reflection of waning government engagement in the EITI process. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of Requirement 1.1 is borderline between being mostly and fully achieved, but that the impact of weaknesses in government efforts to ensure operational leadership over technical aspects of the MSG’s functioning has had a material impact on EITI implementation given repeated delays in planned MSG activities.
The Secretariat’s view is that the high-level leadership of EITI implementation in the 2020-22 period has been matched by its operational engagement in the provision of required data, increases in funding for EITI implementation and actions to overcome barriers to implementation. However, challenges in the availability of senior government officials have caused interruptions in the MSG’s work, including the holding of regular meetings in accordance with the MSG’s ToR and timely MSG decision-making on EITI matters.
There is evidence of high-level statements of support for the EITI from senior government officials in the period under review, as recorded on the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio website. The government issued an official statement of support for the EITI in June 2022, signed by the Ministers of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio, of Hydrocarbons, of Mining Industry and Geology, and of the Forestry Economy. A senior official has consistently acted as the government lead for EITI implementation and MSG chair during the 2020-22 period, with Minister of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio Calixte Nganongo replaced by Minister Roger Rigobert Andely in May 2021. In practice, Minister delegate in charge of Budget Ludovic Ngatsé has chaired many MSG meetings on behalf of the MSG chair throughout this period.
The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template highlights that government MSG members have consistently attended or delegated their attendance to a consistent proxy at EITI Congo activities and MSG meetings, with two MSG members (the Minister of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio and the Director General of the Public Treasury) having delegated attendance to proxies during this period. Aside from chairing the MSG, the government has also chaired the MSG’s Finance and Audit Commission (Advisor to the Prime Minister Jean-Jacques Ikama) and the Ad Hoc 2022 Validation Preparation Commission (Minister of Hydrocarbons Bruno Jean Richard Itoua). However, the availability of senior government officials appears to have caused delays in the holding of MSG meetings in this period, with no MSG meeting between February and October 2021 nor between January and May 2022 (see Requirement 1.4). Most government and civil society stakeholders as well as development partners consulted considered that the delays in holding MSG meetings were due primarily to organisational challenges within EITI Congo rather than a lack of sufficient government engagement. However, the Secretariat’s view is that the implementation of new provisions of the MSG’s internal rules requiring that MSG meetings be chaired by the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Hydrocarbons or the Minister of Mines has tied the MSG’s functioning to the availability of senior government officials. While positive for the MSG’s decision-making, these strict requirements have affected the frequency of MSG meetings and the MSG does not yet appear to have implemented mechanisms to ensure ongoing MSG oversight in periods when senior government officials are not available. Although the EITI Congo Secretariat continued organising and coordinating work throughout the 202022 period, weaknesses in the MSG’s decision-making related to postponed meetings led to delays in several aspects of EITI implementation. A senior government official conceded that government engagement had been weaker in 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the IMF programme and the renegotiations of several production-sharing contracts in the oil sector, but highlighted that the government was improving its leadership and engagement in 2022, having held three MSG meetings in the June-August 2022 period alone.
In practice, the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template describes the role of the EITI Congo Permanent Secretariat as the coordinator of the government constituency, which has involved regular communications with the broader government constituency. While the template states that the government constituency provided input to the development of the 2020 and 2021-22 EITI work plans, there is little evidence of the broader constituency’s input in minutes of MSG meetings of such input in practice (e.g., minutes of the MSG’s 17 November 2021 meeting in which the 2020-21 work plan was approved).
All material government entities have generally provided the required information and quality assurances in the two (2018 and 2019) EITI Reports published in the period under review, including for the first-time certification by the Court of Accounts and Budgetary Discipline (Cour des Comptes et de Discipline Budgétaire – CCDB) for the 2019 EITI Report. Minutes of MSG meetings and of EITI capacity building events indicate that the government has taken steps to overcome barriers to EITI implementation. This has included encouraging all material extractive companies to report and for civil society to participate in EITI outreach and dissemination events. In June 2022, Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Mackosso issued a circular directing local government and security service officials to support civil society’s activities related to the EITI process. Records of dissemination events indicates that some government officials have joined EITI outreach events in this period. However, the review of follow-up on past EITI recommendations in the MSG’s ‘Outcomes and impact’ template indicates that follow-up on at least four recommendations is pending government action, although these relate to recommendations from the 2020 EITI Report published in June 2022. The 2021 annual progress report includes a recommendation for the government to consider the recommendations of EITI Reports.
The government has provided funding for EITI implementation through its annual national budget, as codified in the latest Government Decree on the EITI (Article 22 of Decree 2019-383). While the annual budget does not disaggregate funding for the EITI, which is included in the budget line for the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio, EITI Congo’s work plans have budgeted for the state to cover 36% (XAF 210m) of EITI expenditures in 2020 and 50% (XAF 566m) of expenditures in 2021-22. In practice, the government provided 43% (XAF 288m) of the funding for EITI implementation in 2021, the only year in the period under review for which actual disbursement data is available from the 2021 annual progress report.
1.2 Industry engagement
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.2 is mostly met, which represents back-sliding since the previous Validation. Several stakeholders consulted from government, civil society and industry considered that the objective of full, active and effective company participation in the EITI process was mostly met in the period under review, given that company engagement had focused primarily on the provision of required data rather than other aspects of implementation. Several industry representatives committed to reinvigorating their engagement in the EITI process during consultations for this Validation, following a challenging period of strict COVID-19 restrictions for international companies. Several government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that company representatives participated in EITI activities on behalf of their individual companies, without clear mechanisms for representing the broader constituency’s views in practice. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective is mostly met given the decline in seniority of delegated industry representatives at EITI events, companies’ primary focus on providing data rather than engaging in other aspects of the EITI process, and weak constituency coordination mechanisms, particularly in the petroleum sector. A senior government official noted that petroleum companies’ engagement in the EITI appeared to have weakened and noted plans for the Ministers of Finance and Hydrocarbons to hold meetings soon with the heads of oil companies to better understand the reasons and take steps to strengthen their engagement in the EITI.
The Decree establishing the EITI (Decree 2019-383) sets the composition of industry’s representation on the MSG, including the three largest companies by turnover in the petroleum, mining and forestry sectors as well as the national oil company SNPC. The largest private extractive company by turnover is automatically appointed as the MSG’s fourth Vice-Chair. The renewal of industry representation on the MSG does not involve consultations with the broader constituency, given that the Directors-General of the largest extractive companies are automatically appointed to the MSG. Minutes of MSG meetings and the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template indicate that industry MSG members have either attended or delegated attendance to proxies for all MSG meetings in the period under review, although MSG members from two large petroleum companies (Total and ENI), one mining company (SOREMI) and one forestry company (Congolaise Industrielle des Bois / OLAM) have delegated their attendance to proxies for all ten MSG meetings in 2020-22. The MSG’s fourth Vice-Chair from the industry constituency (Total) has chaired the MSG’s Communications and Capacity Development Commission.
Industry provision of the required information and quality assurances has improved across the three (2018, 2019 and 2020) EITI Reports produced in the period under review. The lack of reporting by the 30 non-reporting companies (of which three in petroleum and ten in mining) in 2018, the three non-reporting companies (of which one in petroleum and two in mining) in 2019 and the one (mining) non-reporting company in 2020 did not have a material impact on the comprehensiveness or reliability of the EITI Report. Improvements in company disclosures have been most marked in the forestry sector, with the rate of forestry industry reporting improving from six of 23 material companies in 2018 to all seven material forestry companies in both 2019 and 2020.
The constituency coordination mechanisms are led by the two professional associations for petroleum and mining, respectively the Petroleum Federation in the Employers’ and Interprofessional Union of Congo (UNICONGO) and the Solid Mines Federation of Congo. However, the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template does not further describe the practice of each association’s coordination of their respective sub-constituencies. Consulted company representatives did not describe practices of coordination on EITI implementation in practice, but highlighted their commitment to improve industry engagement in the EITI process in future. The constituency’s preparations for this Validation were cited as an example, in which specific industry MSG members had submitted their responses to the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template after repeated follow-up from the EITI Congo Secretariat, but without consulting their broader constituency. Some government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that forestry company representatives tended to be more engaged than those from petroleum, despite the fact that the forestry sector had only recently started being represented on the MSG.
There is little documented evidence of the broader industry constituency’s input to the development of EITI Congo work plans, aside from references to industry members’ participation in relevant MSG meetings where the draft work plans were discussed. Minutes of these MSG meetings do not indicate any industry input to these documents (e.g., minutes of the MSG’s 17 November 2021 meeting in which the 2020-21 work plan was approved). Representatives from all constituencies consulted noted that industry MSG members did not object to the publication of additional data on oil companies’ production costs, crude oil exports or the financial modelling report.
The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template indicates that industry representatives attended workshops related to EITI reporting templates and beneficial ownership disclosures. Stakeholder consultations also confirmed that company representatives attended EITI Congo dissemination activities when invited, such as the workshop on the 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports in Pointe Noire in July 2022, attended by several company directors. However, available documents and stakeholder consultations did not identify more active use or promotion of EITI data by extractive companies beyond internal company reporting to their headquarters.
There do not appear to be any legal, regulatory or administrative barriers to industry engagement in all aspects of the EITI process, as confirmed in the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template.
1.3 Civil society engagement
Requirement: Mostly met with improvements
1.4 MSG governance
Requirement: Partly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.4 is partly met. Most MSG members consulted considered that the objective of a balanced multistakeholder oversight of the EITI process had been fulfilled in the past two years, although many conceded that there had been gaps of time when the MSG would not meet. However, they highlighted several contextual factors to be taken into account, including the COVID-19 pandemic intervening just as new MSG members assumed their functions, Presidential elections in March 2021 and legislative elections in July 2022. The Secretariat’s view is that, despite innovations in EITI Congo’s approached to implementation and procedural improvements in MSG governance since the last Validation, the objective has not been met in the period under review. There has been a deterioration in multi-stakeholder oversight of the EITI process given an uneven frequency of meetings that has delayed significant work and insufficient capacity building for newly appointed MSG members.
The renewal of MSG membership in early 2020 was assessed in the last Validation as satisfactory, and MSG members appear broadly representative of their respective constituencies. However, stakeholder consultations highlighted that the new MSG members joined just as COVID-19 restrictions were imposed, making their integration and capacity building more challenging. There were four replacements of government MSG members since the 2020 renewal, including the Ministers of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio and of Hydrocarbons following a cabinet reshuffle in May 2021, as well as two government officials following their replacements in office in May 2020 and August 2021 respectively. There were two replacements of industry MSG members following the replacement of the Director General of Total Energies in June 2021 and the suspension of the Director General of forestry company SIPAM in December 2020 due to evidence of the company’s implication in past legal proceedings, as discussed by the MSG at its December 2020 meeting. The replacements appear to have followed provisions of the MSG’s ToR (Decree 2019-383), although it took over one year to fill the vacant seat with a new member in July 2022. There is no indication that the industry constituency has formalised its MSG nominations procedures and there is thus no evidence that gender considerations are taken into account. The civil society constituency procedures for nominating their MSG representatives continue to be those agreed in October 2018 and include provisions for considering gender in the nominations. The ‘Outcomes and impact’ template includes a statement of commitment that gender will be considered in the next renewal of MSG membership planned for 2023. In practice, women represent around one quarter (eight) of MSG members.
The MSG continues to be governed by the revised Government Decree (2019383) on EITI assessed in the previous Validation as satisfactory. However, the MSG updated its internal rules (‘reglement interieur’) in June 2022, with key reforms such as requiring the in-person presence of either the MSG Chair, first and second Vice-Chairs, who are the Minister of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio, the Minister of Hydrocarbons and the Minister of Mining Industries and Geology respectively. Consulted stakeholders highlighted this as a key challenge in scheduling MSG meetings in advance, and thus as part of the explanation for long (six month) periods without MSG meetings.
The MSG did not hold any meetings from January to May 2020, from February to October 2021 and from January and May 2022, although the MSG had more frequent meetings in the fourth quarter of each year to seek to compensate. The ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template is transparent about these deviations and explains that they were due to the impact of the sanitary crisis in 2020 and national elections in March 2021 that led to the appointment of a new cabinet in May 2021. The majority of MSG members have attended most MSG meetings and EITI Congo activities that did take place in this period, albeit with representation at a less senior level than historically from the industry constituency (see Requirement 1.2).
The MSG’s submission notes that delays in holding MSG meetings had an impact on the work of the Independent Administrator, the beneficial ownership consultant, the work of the MSG’s commissions and the holding of some EITI workshops. The EITI Congo 2021 annual progress report states that the MSG’s three permanent commissions were established in December 2020 but notes that they were not operational in 2021-22 given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, presidential elections and the cabinet reshuffle. There is some evidence that the MSG continued to provide oversight of EITI implementation albeit with delays, including by agreeing a 2021-22 work plan in November 2021 and publishing the 2018, 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports in November 2020, December 2021 and June 2022 respectively. However, production of the annual review of outcomes and impact appears to have been delayed, with plans for an impact study in Q2 2022 postponed. Most stakeholders consulted confirmed that the EITI Congo Secretariat continued organising and coordinating EITI work throughout the period, but that delays in the MSG’s decision-making caused postponements of work related to agreeing the work plan, preparation of the EITI Report, the annual progress report and approval of key studies such as the beneficial ownership report or the financial modelling report in 2022. The MSG approved key documents at the meetings it did hold, although this led to the publication of many documents at once rather than ensuring consistent publication of approved documents, including MSG meeting minutes, throughout the 2020-22 period. A senior government official conceded that government engagement had been weaker in 2021 in the context of competing priorities, but highlighted that the government was now improving its leadership and engagement, having held three MSG meetings in the June-August 2022 period alone.
The MSG’s three permanent commissions codified in the 2020 internal rules were established at the MSG’s December 2020 meeting. However, they did not meet in practice since their establishment. The MSG established a fourth, ad hoc, commission on Validation chaired by the Minister of Hydrocarbons in June 2022 that appears to have met. Following up on the findings of the previous Validation, the EITI Congo website published the detail of per diem payments in June 2022, which appears to be consistent with provisions of the June 2020 MSG internal rules (‘reglement interieur’) and confirm that MSG members from industry choose not to receive such payments. The rate of per diems still appears high at XAF 300,000 (around USD 470) per session. However, none of the stakeholders consulted on or off the MSG considered that these per diems caused conflicts of interest for MSG members. Although delays in the MSG Chair’s approval of meeting minutes delayed publication of meeting records for the 2021-22 period, these were published on the EITI Congo in June 2022. Advance notification of meetings and circulation of documents appears to have complied with the provisions of the MSG’s internal rules in this period, even if the 2021-22 EITI work plan identifies limited advance notice of MSG meetings as a potential risk to EITI implementation.
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment of EITI Requirements
Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.
Overview of the extractive industries
3.1 Exploration data
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Several stakeholders from government and civil society considered that the objective of a transparent overview of the extractive industries had been achieved. The Secretariat’s view is that there is scope for the government and extractive companies to strengthen their systematic disclosures on their exploration and production activities in order for this objective to be exceeded in future Validations. All information covered by Requirement 3.1 continues to be disclosed through the Republic of Congo’s annual EITI Report.
6.3 Contribution of the extractive sector to the economy
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.3 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered that the EITI provided the most comprehensive overview of the contribution of the extractive industries to the economy available. The Secretariat's view is that the objective has been fulfilled, with a growing set of systematic disclosures of extractive revenues, and has the potential to exceed the objective by implementing reforms such as the systematic publication of quarterly oil sales reports as planned under the commitments to the IMF.
The Republic of Congo’s EITI Reports provide the most exhaustive publicly accessible data on the contribution of oil, gas, mining and forestry industries, in absolute and relative terms, to GDP, government revenue, exports and employment. Annex 24 of the 2020 EITI Report provides employment data for reporting companies disaggregated by gender and nationality (national/foreign), but not yet by occupation as encouraged by Requirement 6.3.d. The 2020 EITI Report does not provide estimates of the informal sector's contribution to extractive industries, and the last study with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) dates from 2012.
Legal and fiscal framework
2.1 Legal framework
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of public understanding of the regulatory framework for the extractive industries had been achieved through EITI reporting. The Secretariat’s agrees that the objective has been fulfilled.
There are systematic disclosures of information on the legal and regulatory framework for the extractive industries in the Republic of Congo, with the full text of laws and regulations published in the official gazette (journal officiel) and the fiscal terms for each project disclosed in the full text of extractive contracts published in the official gazette and on government portals (see Requirement 2.4). The country has used its latest (2020) EITI reporting to comprehensively describe the legal framework and fiscal regime for the mining, oil and gas sectors, including all information listed under Requirement 2.1.a. It has also expanded coverage to the forestry sector since the 2014 EITI Report. While the 2020 EITI Report provides a cursory overview of some reforms related to the mining and petroleum sectors, this description remains limited to coverage of the SYSPACE public finance management system and references to planned updates to the Mining Code, albeit without details from the Mining and Geology Department (DGM) on the nature of planned reforms to the legal framework for mining. Nonetheless, the Secretariat’s view is that these weaknesses do not represent material back-sliding compared to EITI disclosures assessed in the previous Validation. Government officials consulted explained that the process for reforming the Mining Code was launched in 2014, but that with World Bank support the government was now recruiting consultants to support the preparation of the draft new law.
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.4 is exceeded. All stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered that the objective of public accessibility of all licenses and contracts underpinning extractive activities had been achieved and that the public now had an understanding of the contractual rights and obligations of companies in the oil, mining, and forestry sectors. Several CSOs consulted considered that the Republic of Congo provided an example of best practice in the publication of extractive contracts and licenses. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been exceeded.
Given that extractive contracts are awarded by laws and licenses awarded by decree, the publication of the full text of these documents is required in the official gazette (journal officiel). Article 14 of the 2017 Transparency Code provides a robust foundation for the disclosure of the full text of mining and petroleum rights by requiring all licenses, permits, authorisations and contracts in the mining, oil and gas sectors to be comprehensively published.
The oil and gas cadastre indicates that there were no new awards of oil and gas contracts or licenses since the start of 2021. While it is unclear from public documents whether any oil and gas contract or license was amended since 2021, stakeholder consultations confirmed that there had not been any new contract awards or amendments between the start of 2021 and July 2022. There is insufficient information in the public domain to assess whether any new mining licenses or contracts were awarded since the start of 2021. The MSG has published a list of all active mining, oil and gas contracts as of the end of 2020, with sufficient information for improving the accessibility of oil and gas contracts. The 2020 EITI Report provides a list of active mining, oil and gas licenses active as of end-2020, and in August 2022 the EITI Congo website published lists of contracts and licenses in the petroleum and mining sectors.
In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG asserted the exhaustivity of the lists of contracts and licenses for the mining and petroleum sector, both based on a review of the respective cadasters. These lists include contracts signed before January 2021, as well as a direct link to the official gazette.
In practice, it appears that all mining, petroleum and forestry contracts (including annexes, amendments and riders) have been published in the official gazette (journal officiel) and, for a large number of oil and gas contracts, on the website of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio. The Government Decrees awarding each mining and petroleum license are published in the official gazette (journal officiel), which includes the full text of the license. PWYP Congo published a report on the status of contract transparency in October 2020, highlighting the lack of publication of two oil and gas contracts awarded in 2019 (Mopongo and Marine XXI) and missing pages in three published contracts awarded in 1994 and 2006 (Haute Mer, Marine VIVII and La Noumbi). However, an August 2022 note from the Director General of Hydrocarbons clarified that the operator had withdrawn from the Marine XXI block in 2020 before the conclusion of the contract and that the Mopongo block had lapsed following the operator’s lack of adherence to its work programme. Several government officials consulted considered that the full text of all petroleum contracts had comprehensively been published in the official gazette and refuted allegations that certain contracts were missing pages. There was consensus among all stakeholders consulted that all contracts and licenses were publicly accessible. Government officials noted that this would be confirmed in the list of contracts and licenses that would shortly be published on the EITI Congo website. In November 2022, the MSG updated the full list of contracts and licenses for both sectors, confirming the comprehensiveness of the documents disclosures.
There is evidence of innovative use of petroleum production sharing contracts by EITI Congo in its financial modelling report, which modelled government revenues from specific petroleum projects on the basis of the published contracts.
6.4 Environmental impact
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.4 remains not assessed, given that several encouraged aspects of this requirement remain to be addressed by EITI Congo. Several government and civil society stakeholders consulted highlighted the significant public interest in environmental impacts of the extractive industries, but noted that the objective of transparency in the management of these impacts had not yet been achieved given that the EITI Congo had not yet expanded the scope of EITI disclosures to describing the practices of environmental management of the extractive industries.
The Republic of Congo has used its latest (2020) EITI reporting to provide a cursory overview of legal and contractual provisions related to environmental management in the mining and petroleum sectors. It alludes to provisions in mining and petroleum sector legislation requiring companies to undertake Environmental Impact Assessments. The EITI Report’s review of the practice of three mining license awards in 2020 highlights the lack of evidence of environmental impact assessments as one of the deviations from statutory procedures for the award of mining licenses. However, the Republic of Congo has not yet expanded its use of EITI reporting to actual practice related to environmental management and monitoring of extractive investments in the country. Several government stakeholders consulted explained that the EITI Congo had not yet considered the environmental aspects in the scoping of EITI Reports. There is scope for the Republic of Congo to use its EITI disclosures to provide information on regular environmental monitoring procedures, administrative and sanctioning processes of governments, as well as environmental liabilities, environmental rehabilitation and remediation programmes. Consulted stakeholders highlighted other ongoing reforms, such as the amendment of around 30 oil production sharing contracts in 2022 to provide for an updated fiscal regime by removing fiscal stabilisation clauses in existence since 1968.
2.2 Contract and license allocations
Requirement: Mostly met with improvements
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.2 is mostly met, with considerable improvements since the previous Validation. Several government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in the practice of extractive rights awards had been fulfilled, highlighting the identification through EITI reporting of deviations in mining and forestry rights awards as an example of the EITI providing a robust diagnostic of licensing practices.
There was a total of four contract awards in oil and gas and 24 license awards in mining in 2020, but no transfers in either sector, according to the 2020 EITI Report. The Transparency template refers to 30 mining license awards, as it includes licensing of gold and diamond buying houses. In consultations, the IA clarified that the fourth oil and gas license (IKalou /Ikalou sud (pex) to ENI) whose award date refers to 2020 was in fact a license renewal.
The government has been developing its systematic disclosures of information on extractive licenses through the Ministry of Hydrocarbons’ new online petroleum license register, its cadastral portal, and the full text of laws and regulations in the official gazette (see Requirements 2.1 and 2.3). However, these new information systems do not track the award and transfer of mining rights beyond updating the license information. The Republic of Congo has used its latest (2020) EITI Report to provide most of the information listed in Requirement 2.2.a for license awards in both mining and oil and gas. However, there are gaps in public disclosures of the statutory procedure for transferring licenses, including a lack of clarity in the technical and financial criteria assessed in transfers of participating interests in oil and gas contracts as well as a lack of information on the procedure for transferring mining licenses and of the technical and financial criteria assessed in mining license awards. However, government officials consulted stated that the same technical and financial criteria applied for oil and gas license transfers as for awards, in line with Articles 5, 19 and 20 of Decree 2008-15 of 11 February 2008, the implementing regulations of the previous Hydrocarbons Code that have not yet been updated for the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code. This process for transferring petroleum rights was confirmed in an August 2022 note from the Director General of Hydrocarbons in response to questions raised in the 2020 EITI Report. However, neither the note or any other public documents available provide a list of criteria assessed for transfers of oil and gas licenses. With regards to the statutory procedures for awards and transfers of mining licenses, government and civil society representatives consulted explained that the criteria and their weightings were not yet codified pending revision of the Mining Code and its implementing Decree. In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG clarified that there was no technical et financial criteria in the process of award and transfer of mining licenses. This is confirmed by a note published by the DGM on its website.
EITI Congo has made progress in assessing non-trivial deviations from statutory procedures in the awards of oil and gas contracts and of mining licenses in 2020. The MSG selected the three oil and gas license awards and a selection of three mining production licenses for its review of material deviations in licensing practices, excluding the small-scale mining licenses due to their “limited time of activity” and the absence of criteria to grant such permits. No deviations were identified in oil and gas contract awards. This was confirmed in an August 2022 note from the Director General of Hydrocarbons in response to questions raised in the 2020 EITI Report, confirming that the discretionary award of petroleum rights in 2020 was in line with statutory provisions of the Hydrocarbons Code. Several civil society stakeholders called for greater codification of the practice of discretionary awards of oil and gas licenses, by developing implementing regulations for the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code as recommended in successive Congo EITI Reports, although those consulted understood the circumstances in which these blocks were awarded during COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. The 2020 EITI Report highlights significant deviations in the three mining license awards reviewed that raise concerns over the robustness of the mining licensing process. Government and civil society stakeholders consulted considered that the selection of license awards reviewed was satisfactory and had been approved by the MSG, and noted that the three mining licenses awarded in 2020 had subsequently been cancelled due to concerns over the company’s adherence to its work programme commitments. Stakeholders from all constituencies highlighted the expansion in licensing review to the forestry sector as a major improvement since the previous Validation.
The Secretariat’s view is that the assessment of Requirement 2.2 considers that the objective is mostly met with improvements. One of the key technical gap relating to the lack of transparency on criteria assessed in mining license awards and transfers has been answered by the MSG. However, a gap remains on the explanation of the technical and financial criteria related to oil transfers, and the protracted delays in updating the 2008 regulations for the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code represents an obstacle to the objective of transparency in the practices of extractive license allocations and transfers in the period under review.
2.3 Register of licenses
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.3 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted were broadly content with the availability of license and contract information for the petroleum, mining and forestry sectors. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been achieved, but not yet exceeded pending the establishment of a modern cadastral system for the mining sector, currently under development.
The Ministry of Hydrocarbons launched a publicly accessible petroleum cadastral portal in 2019, which provides all information listed under Requirement 2.3.b and provides for bulk download of license information in open format. While a similar cadastral system is under development for the mining sector, it was not yet finalised and launched at the start of this Validation. In the meantime, the Republic of Congo has used its latest (2020) EITI Report to disclose most required information for mining licenses, with the coordinates of each license available in the full text of the publicly available Decrees listed in the annexes to the 2020 EITI Report. While there are some minor information gaps in the 2020 EITI Report, including the lack of information on the awarding Decree for one exploration license and missing dates of application for six licenses, the Secretariat’s view is that these are not material gaps that would warrant a downgrade in the previous assessment of fully met. The assessment of this requirement may improve to ‘exceeded’ once the mining cadastral portal is publicly launched, depending on stakeholders’ views of the comprehensiveness and reliability of license data disclosed therein.
2.5 Beneficial ownership
Requirement: Partly met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 2.5 is partly met. Several government officials considered that the objective of transparency in the ultimate ownership of extractive companies was in the process of being fulfilled given advances in preparing draft legislation on beneficial ownership. Several CSOs and consultants considered that the objective was mostly achieved given that the MSG planned to advocate for improvements in the draft legislation to require public disclosure of beneficial ownership information and of politically exposed persons, at least for the extractive industries. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective is not yet fulfilled given that an enabling environment for the public disclosure of beneficial ownership information has yet to be established and that beneficial ownership data has not yet been disclosed for a majority of companies holding or applying for extractive rights.
The Republic of Congo has made efforts to prepare a draft legal and regulatory framework for the collection of beneficial ownership information of companies in all sectors, although it has yet to enact legislation requiring the public disclosure of this data. Article 66 of the March 2017 Transparency Law provides some legal basis for the public disclosure of such data by requiring the state to disclose the identity of beneficial owners “and their associates” for all mining, oil, gas and forestry exploration or production licenses. However, implementing laws and regulations have yet to be enacted. The country has used its EITI reporting process to collect and disclose legal and beneficial ownership information from some of the larger companies in the sectors. A draft law on beneficial ownership prepared by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio in 2020, included in Annex 2 of the June 2022 EITI Congo beneficial ownership study, proposed expanding beneficial ownership data collection to companies in all sectors. The Supreme Court issued an opinion that the draft law was in conformity with the Constitution. However, the June 2022 EITI Congo study on beneficial ownership raises concerns over the potential exclusion from beneficial ownership reporting obligations of extractive companies not domiciled in the Republic of Congo, as well as a lack of provisions related to the disclosure of PEPs and requiring the public disclosure of beneficial ownership information. However, several civil society stakeholders consulted highlighted plans to continue advocacy to ensure that these weaknesses in the draft legislation were addressed, at least for disclosures related to the extractive industries. A senior government official noted that enacting the beneficial ownership law was a top government priority for 2022. The official noted that a new Anti-Corruption Law had been enacted in March 2022, which introduced asset disclosure requirements for PEPs, and that a Decree on Conflicts of Interest was passed in July 2022 as an implementing regulation for this law.
The Republic of Congo has used its EITI reporting to collect data on beneficial ownership since the 2016 EITI Report, but has expanded the scope of data disclosed through gradual improvements in company reporting. EITI Congo agreed definitions of beneficial ownership and politically exposed person (PEP), on which it has based its EITI data collection. Yet only five of the 25 material companies in the 2020 EITI Report disclosed full information on their beneficial ownership, while 13 companies disclosed partial beneficial ownership information, two companies were wholly state-owned, and one company was demonstrably a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly listed company. Data collection through the EITI has included requests for all information listed in Requirement 2.5.c-d. EITI Congo’s June 2022 beneficial ownership study provides information on the stock exchange listings of seven companies and guidance on accessing their regulatory filings. Without a public register of company shareholders in the Republic of Congo, EITI reporting has provided information on the shareholders of nine material companies for 2020. A summary of outreach workshops with companies is available on the website of the EITI Congo. As a result of this outreach, the EITI Congo’s June 2022 beneficial ownership study included improved disclosures, with 41 petroleum, mining and forestry companies’ beneficial ownership, as well as disclosures of legal ownership information for 65 companies (out of 144 extractive licenseholders). The study also contained a robust assessment of the comprehensiveness and reliability of the data disclosed under the study. Several criteria assessed under Phase 1 of the beneficial ownership Validation framework until December 2021 have not yet been addressed given the lack of an enabling legal framework, while the objective of full disclosure of all beneficial owners under Phase 2 of the Validation framework is not yet fulfilled.
2.6 State participation
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 2.6 is fully met. Several government and civil society stakeholders considered that the objective of transparency and public understanding of whether SOEs’ financial relations with the state are in accordance with the relevant regulatory framework had been achieved. However, some CSOs and a development partner raised concerns over allegations of unusually low dividend payments by the national oil company to the state, even if there was consensus that it had not achieved a profit in 2020, the year reviewed by the latest EITI Report. The Secretariat’s view is that there have been significant improvements both in systematic disclosures and EITI reporting of the practice of state participation since the previous Validation and that the objective has been achieved. A senior government official highlighted the significance of the improvements in the government and SNPC’s systematic disclosures of information on the state’s participation in the extractive industries. For instance, the official noted that SNPC was now routinely publishing its audited financial statements within the timeframe required under the OHADA, which was considered a significant improvement on previous yeas when such publications could not be considered.
In mining, the Republic of Congo’s EITI reporting has continued to provide the required information on the state’s entitlement to a 10% free equity interest in all companies holding mining production licenses. The 2020 EITI Report provides an update on the list of state participations in mining companies, terms attached to the participations and confirming the lack of changes, and indicates that this participation did not give rise to material revenues for the government in 2020 given the lack of dividends. While the report does not mention any loans or guarantees provided by the state to any mining company or project, a review of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio’s debt reports and stakeholder consultations confirmed the lack of such loans or guarantees in the mining sector to date.
In oil and gas, SNPC has continued to strengthen its systematic disclosures since the previous Validation, in the context of the IMF programme, and has continued to regularly publish its audited financial statements on the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio website (although not yet on SNPC’s own website). The SNPC’s upstream subsidiary SONAREP has also published its audited financial statements for 2020 on the finance ministry website. These published reports have expanded to cover the terms of its participation in each oil and gas project, including through third-party financing (‘portage’) by the operator. The government’s restructuring of its financial operations dashboard (TOFE) and national budget to cover resource-backed loans from China and commodity traders has also increased transparency around these transactions. In 2020, the government concluded a new oil sales agreement with the national refinery, the CORAF, which is a subsidiary of SNPC. Therefore, while SNPC’s equity interest in the CORAF is covered under Requirement 2.6, the CORAF’s purchases of crude oil from the state are covered under EITI Requirements related to the sale of the state’s in-kind revenues and the distribution of extractive industry revenues (see Requirements 4.2 and 5.1). Some CSOs and development partners raised concerns over whether SNPC was recording resource-backed loans from commodity traders in its accounts or whether these were only recorded in sovereign debt statistics, although most stakeholders consulted considered that the SOE’s audited financial statements provided sufficient information on its revenues and liabilities.
The 2020 EITI Report provides the most detailed diagnostic of state participation in the petroleum sector to date. For the first time, it categorises the national oil company SNPC’s upstream subsidiary SONAREP as material SOE in its own right, given that it assumed operatorship of two oil projects through the award of rights in 2020. This categorisation was controversial during stakeholder consultations, with both government and civil society representatives considered that SONAREP should be covered only as SNPC’s subsidiary given that its dividends were to be paid to SNPC, not directly to the state. The report confirms the state’s minority (45%) interest in SOCOTRAM, the company collecting the ‘maritime tax’ from oil exporters.
Beyond describing the statutory financial relations between SNPC and the state, as well as between SNPC and SONAREP, according to the Hydrocarbons and SNPC Laws and SNPC’s statutes, the Republic of Congo’s EITI’s reporting has provided a diagnostic of the practice of SNPC’s financial relations with the state based on an analysis of the SOE’s audited financial statements. This review covers both the practice of SNPC’s financial relations with its subsidiaries, and its participation in oil and gas projects. While the report does not explicitly clarify the terms of SNPC’s equity interest in SONAREP, stakeholder consultations confirmed that it was on commercial terms under the framework of OHADA, a system of corporate law in West and Central Africa. The gaps in the 2020 EITI Report on the terms of SONAREP’s participation in the two oil projects it was given operatorship in 2020 are addressed in SNPC’s audited financial statements for 2021, published on the Ministry website.
The 2020 EITI Report discloses the value of SNPC dividends to the state (only USD 5m) in 2020, related to profit in 2018. Several CSOs and development partners consulted raised concerns over the low level of SNPC dividends to the state and called for the EITI to help improve transparency in this regard. The 2020 EITI Report provides a forensic review of SNPC’s retained earnings, including its marketing fee for the state’s in-kind revenues and the SOE’s share of operating and capital expenditures in oil projects. This includes coverage of the specific fiscal regime for the Yanga and Sendji concession, in which the operator provides third-party financing for SNPC before reimbursing itself through deductions on the state’s Profit Oil. The EITI Report describes the lending agreement between the state and SNPC, in which the state can provide funding for SNPC at a set interest rate (4%), although it confirms that this mechanism has not been used to date.
The 2020 EITI Report has expanded coverage to information on the company’s corporate governance and procurement policies, with the potential to cover the practices in future EITI reporting.
4.2 In-kind revenues
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.2 is fully met. Most stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered that the objective of transparency in the sale of in-kind revenues of oil and gas had been achieved. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been achieved, but not yet exceeded pending systematic disclosure of the state’s oil sales and additional EITI disclosures on the practices related to the selection of buying companies, including any material deviations from the applicable legal and regulatory framework governing the selection of buying companies, and the related sales agreements.
The 2020 EITI Report discloses the volumes of government in-kind revenues collected, the volumes actually sold, and the proceeds of sales, disaggregated (but not reconciled, which is only encouraged by the EITI Standard) by buyer and by cargo. The data on volumes of in-kind revenues are provided disaggregated by company, but not yet by project (see Requirement 4.7). The volumes of the state’s in-kind revenues collected cover both the in-kind revenues commercialised by SNPC on behalf of the state as well as the volumes commercialised by Total EP Congo on behalf of the state in the context of the bespoke marketing arrangements for the Nkossa/Nsoko field. The crude oil sales disclosures cover the share of the state’s in-kind revenues transferred to the national refinery CORAF.
Since the 2017 EITI Report, the Republic of Congo has expanded the scope of disclosure of commodity sales to the crude oil sales by international oil companies on their own account (including their Cost Oil and Equity Oil). Combined with the EITI disclosures of oil companies’ recoverable costs, this provides a basis for analysing the terms of oil companies’ oil exports, although the oil companies’ oil exports are disaggregated by sales cargo, but not by project from which the crude oil is sourced. Industry representatives consulted expressed satisfaction at the public disclosure of oil companies’ crude oil exports, while representatives from other constituencies highlighted these disclosures as a significant innovation of EITI Congo.
The EITI crude oil sales disclosures cover and clearly distinguish payments in the framework of each resource-backed loan agreements, including the reimbursement of pre-financing agreements from commodity traders, payments in the context of the government-to-government agreement with China, and payments for the CEC power plant. However, stakeholder consultations confirmed that the value of CORAF payments for a share of the state’s in-kind revenues in 2020 were not included in calculations of total government revenues from proceeds of the sale of the state’s in-kind revenues, even if there is sufficient information in the EITI Report on the value of CORAF payments to the government for its crude oil purchases. The CORAF had only paid around USD 120m of the estimated USD 250m value of the 6.1m barrels of crude oil it purchased from the state in 2020, according to the EITI Report, although stakeholder consultations raised concerns over the accuracy of these calculations in the EITI Report (see Requirement 5.1).
The Republic of Congo has made progress on encouraged aspects of Requirement 4.2. Beyond publishing oil companies’ cost and equity oil sales, the EITI Reports have disclosed information on the statutory framework for oil sales and data on crude oil sales including product type, price, market and sales volume, ownership of the product sold and the nature of the contract, as well as disclosure of sales of SNPC’s own production. Several leading purchasers of Congolese oil that are EITI Supporting Companies, including Trafigura and Glencore, disclose their purchases of crude oil from the Republic of Congo at the international level, albeit only disaggregated by cargo for volumes purchased and aggregated by year for the values of purchases. However, there is scope for the Republic of Congo to strengthen its use of EITI reporting to disclose a description of the process for selecting the buying companies, the technical and financial criteria used to make the selection, the list of selected buying companies, any material deviations from the applicable legal and regulatory framework governing the selection of buying companies, and the related sales agreements. However, the new crude oil sales agreement with the CORAF refinery was published in August 2022. There is however evidence of innovative use of oil sales data by the EITI Congo, which published a financial modelling report that analysed crude oil sales by all companies.
4.5 SOE transactions
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 4.5 is fully met. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of ensure the traceability of payments and transfers involving SOEs had been achieved, but some CSOs and development partners considered that the second objective of public understanding of whether revenues accruable to the state are effectively transferred to the state had not yet been achieved given general concerns over whether SNPC transferred dividends to the state in line with decisions of its Board of Directors on the distribution of profits. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of transparency in the traceability of extractive revenues collected by SOEs has been achieved, given that the 2020 EITI Report appears to have comprehensively disclosed all SOE transactions that actually took place in 2020, even if concerns persist from some stakeholders over whether SNPC is meeting its financial obligations to the state (see Requirement 2.6).
There are some systematic disclosures related to extractive SOE transactions in the routine disclosure of SNPC’s audited financial statements and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio’s ad hoc publication of the government financial operations dashboard (TOFE) and the national budget execution report. Yet the Republic of Congo’s EITI reporting has provided the most comprehensive and reliable disclosures of SOE transactions to date. In the mining sector, there have been no dividend payments by mining companies to the state to date, given that none of the companies in which the state is entitled to exercise its 10% free equity interest have yet reached a stage of profitability. In the oil and gas sector, the 2020 EITI Report provides a comprehensive and detailed review of the revenues collected by SNPC, both related to its upstream operations and to its equity interests in other companies. The revenues collected by SNPC are material. The revenues collected by SNPC on behalf of the state are disclosed and reconciled in the EITI Report, including both in-kind revenues and dividends from its equity interests in upstream companies. The report also discloses and reconciles SNPC’s payment of a USD 5m dividend related to its performance in 2018 and confirms the lack of dividend related to 2020 given that the company was loss-making that year.
While the 2020 EITI Report provides three different figures for the value of SNPC’s transfers to the government related to its sales of the state’s in-kind revenues, consultations with government officials and the IA clarified this apparent inconsistency. The EITI Report (p.18) refers to XAF 238bn (USD) as the value of crude oil cargos commercialised by SNPC on behalf of the state in 2020, while its Annex 28 refers to a different number of XAF 261.5bn (USD) as the value of the same crude oil cargos commercialised by SNPC on behalf of the state in 2020. Finally, the EITI Report (p.19) also refers to XAF 218.5bn (USD) as the value of proceeds of the sale of the state’s in-kind revenues that was actually transferred to the Treasury (and reconciled) in 2020. In consultations, the IA provided additional documentation (available here) that explained that the difference between the XAF 238bn and XAF 261.5bn figures came from the use of an average exchange rate by the IA in the former, and of actual exchange rates on the day of the purchase in the latter. Both figures represented oil export data for 2020 on an accrual’s basis, with payments for cargos exported in NovemberDecember typically made in the first quarter of the subsequent year. The lower XAF 218.5bn figure represented payments for the crude oil sales in 2020 on a cash accounting basis, i.e. payments received.
With regards to SNPC’s marketing and sale of the state’s in-kind revenues, the report provides unilateral SNPC disclosures of the total value of proceeds of these sales and the results of reconciliation of the value of transfers related to these proceeds to the Treasury, equivalent to 13% of total proceeds from the sale of the state’s in-kind revenues. In terms of SNPC’s transfers to other accounts, the report provides SNPC’s unilateral disclosures of the management of the proceeds from the sale of the state’s in-kind revenues, including the value of its transfers to the escrow account guaranteeing the China-funded infrastructure projects on the one hand and in reimbursement of pre-financing agreements with three commodity traders. Regarding transfers between the state and its SOEs, no transfers were made from the state to its state-owned companies. With respect to SNPC and SONAREP transfers to the state other than common taxes and levies, the 2020 EITI Report describes two types of retained earnings by SNPC worth a total of USD 36.6m in 2020, including USD 30m seized in the context of the state litigation against one of its creditors, and USD 6.6m in other amounts owed by the state to SNPC.
In terms of government transfers to SNPC’s subsidiaries, the report provides the volumes of crude oil deducted by SNPC from the state’s in-kind revenues and transferred to the domestic refinery CORAF. The report highlights shortfalls between the value of the CORAF’s payments, around USD 120.8m, and the estimated value of the 6.1m barrels in crude oil deliveries, around USD 249.8m, although stakeholder consultations raised concerns over the calculation of the payments for crude oil supplies due by the CORAF to the state in 2020 (see Requirement 5.1). The comprehensiveness and reliability of data on SOE transactions in the 2020 EITI Report have been ensured through the certification of SNPC and SONAREP’s reporting templates by their respective auditors and signed by management, together with a review of audited financial statements of both SNPC and SONAREP, which are publicly accessible.
6.2 SOE quasi-fiscal expenditures
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.2 is mostly met. Most stakeholders consulted from government, civil society and development partners considered that past quasi-fiscal expenditures had now been resolved and brought onto the government’s budget and thus that the objective of transparency on off-budget extractive revenues had been achieved. The Secretariat for the large part agrees with this view, although it notes areas for further work including the systematisation of the reporting related to CORAF’s payments for its oil purchases from the state, including arrears. In addition, while transfers to the China Exim Bank escrow account are now clear, the management of that account and any transfers to the government net of repayments under the agreement with China remain unclear (see requirement 4.3 and 5.1). Further MSG deliberations on any transfers from the China Exim Bank escrow account to the government would be warranted to ensure that the broader objective of Requirement 6.2 be fully addressed.
The 2020 EITI Report describes the reforms leading to the recording in the national budget and the government’s financial operations dashboard (2020 TOFE) of the four types of transactions categorised as quasi-fiscal in the previous Validation. These consist of payments made into the China Exim Bank escrow account as a guarantee of repayment for China's infrastructure agreement, reimbursement of pre-financing agreements to commodity traders, transfers of 6.1m barrels of the state’s crude oil to the refinery CORAF, and in-kind crude oil deductions from state revenues in reimbursement of the CEC power plants. While the published government budget and financial management documents do not clearly disaggregate lines for these items, the EITI Report and stakeholder consultations confirmed that all four types of deductions from transfers to the Treasury were now recorded in national budget documents. However, there were differing explanations of the value and categorisation of the unpaid arrears from the CORAF to the state related to deliveries of crude oil in 2020. The Natural Resources Department of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio published a note to comment on the 2020 EITI Report’s figures related to CORAF deliveries, clarifying the correct figures for the value of oil transferred to CORAF in 2020 and noting the delayed payment for 2020, only registered in the 2021 TOFE. However, lack of clarity regarding the status of arrears from past deliveries of crude to CORAF remains. The 2020 EITI Report also lists expenditures by the SNPC Foundation that it categorises as social expenditures, and that stakeholder consultations confirmed were voluntary in nature. The 2018 EITI Report had categorised several SNPC Foundation expenditures as quasi-fiscal in nature, although government officials consulted considered that the 2020 EITI Report’s categorisation of the Foundation’s expenditures as social was correct. In its answer to the draft Validation report, the MSG confirmed that these expenditures were undertaken under the CSR program of SNPC and should be considered as social expenditures.
Production and exports
3.2 Production data
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.2 remains fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in extractive production data had been achieved. Several stakeholders from government and civil society highlighted the EITI publications of oil companies’ production costs as a meaningful innovation by EITI Congo. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been fulfilled, given that the Republic of Congo’s EITI Reports aggregate annual data on production of all extractive commodities’ production volumes and values, with more disaggregated data on oil and gas production. However, the 2020 EITI Report has not yet provided additional commentary on the methods for calculating production volumes or estimating values.
3.3 Export data
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 3.3 remains fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in extractive export data had been achieved, with some government officials consulted highlighting the government’s follow-up on recommendations from EITI Reports regarding the oversight of informal exports of artisanal-mined gold and diamonds, including smuggling from neighbouring countries. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective is fully met, but not yet exceeded pending the disclose of more information on the methods for tracking export volumes and calculating values, as well as strengthened systematic disclosures of extractives export data through, for instance, quarterly oil reports. The 2020 EITI Report discloses disaggregated export data on crude oil, including cargo-level sales data for all crude oil exported in 2020 (see Requirement 4.2).
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.1 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted appeared content at the coverage of the country’s EITI Reports in terms of companies and revenues. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective is achieved given the full adherence of material government entities and companies to reporting, even if there is scope to strengthen both government and companies’ systematic disclosures of payments and revenue data.
The Republic of Congo has continued to publish conventional reconciliation reports, with rising reporting by material companies in particular. Following a publicly documented approach, EITI Congo has ensured compliance with EITI reporting by all extractive companies aside from one small mining company in 2020. The coverage of disaggregated disclosures for the oil and gas, mining, and forestry sectors, of 99.96%, 89%, and 85% respectively, suggests that these disclosures are comprehensive. While the 2020 EITI Report contains a review of the audit status of material companies, there have not yet been any improvements in the accessibility of extractive companies’ audited financial statements.
4.3 Infrastructure provisions and barter arrangements
Requirement: Mostly met with improvements
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.3 is mostly met, with considerable improvements since the previous Validation. Many stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in infrastructure provisions and barter-type arrangements had been achieved, with several MSG members explicitly stating that there were resource-backed loans from China and commodity traders, but that these did not fit the EITI’s narrower definition of ‘barter’ type arrangements involving physical delivery of extractive commodities. The Secretariat’s view is that there is insufficient information in the public domain to conclude on whether the resource-backed loan from China constitutes a ‘barter’ type arrangements according to EITI Requirement 4.3, while the arrangement with commodity traders does appear to fit the definition. The loans from commodity traders are repaid through lifting of crude oil cargos, while the loans from China are repaid through crude oil liftings by Chinese state-owned oil companies, with differing stakeholder views on whether the crude oil sales are required to be sold to Chinese state-owned companies through some form of right of first refusal arrangement. Regardless of the categorisation of the China agreement as a resource-backed loan, key terms of the loan arrangement have been provided and public information on the infrastructure works funded in 2020 have been communicated to the Secretariat. The improvements in disclosures related to the China agreement and the granularity of cargo-level oil sales disclosures related to the two agreements marks a considerable improvement since the previous Validation, in the Secretariat’s view.
There also remains significant public interest in the past costs of the CEC power plant, whose development costs have now been repaid but remain some of the highest costs for developing this type of power plant. The 2020 EITI Report provides a detailed description of the CEC project, whose capital expenditure costs were effectively repaid in 2019 prior to the completion of an audit, whose results have not yet been published. There was significant stakeholder interest, particularly from civil society, on the past investment and management costs of the CEC project. There is scope for EITI Congo to analyse data disclosed through the EITI on repayments of the CEC power plant to assess its value to the state. The Secretariat’s view is that progress towards the objective of Requirement 4.3 would be strengthened through a more systematic review of the CEC project and an assessment of its materiality compared to conventional extractive agreements.
With regards to the agreement with China, the EITI Report provides 2019 data on infrastructure projects financed by China. A list of the infrastructure projects funded under the agreement with China in 2020 was provided to the International Secretariat in August 2022, although this does not appear to yet be published online. In addition, the report provides the value of aggregate debt outstanding at the end of 2020, the terms of the loan including length, interest rate and general repayment modalities. In its response to the draft Validation report, the MSG confirmed that the deliveries of crude oil displayed in the Annex 14 of the 2020 EITI Report were linked to the agreement. While EITI Congo reporting has focused on financial inflows to the escrow account established under the China agreement, it has not yet covered the management and oversight of funds in the escrow account, which would be needed to strengthen public accountability around the arrangement.
With regards to the pre-financing agreements with the three commodity traders Orion Oil, Glencore and Trafigura, the EITI Report provides information on the value of the loans, but not on other terms such as length, interest rate or repayment modalities. However in August 2022, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio website published a note on the restructured terms of the loans from commodity traders, which included the loan tenor and interest rate. A separate note published on the website in August 2022 describes the general repayment modalities for the loans from China and the commodity traders.
Stakeholder consultations with government and civil society confirmed that repayments of the loans from Glencore and Trafigura had been frozen in 2020 pending the conclusion of debt restructuring talks that concluded in 2021-22. This was confirmed on the note on the loan terms published in August 2022.
While noting the progress made on the disclosure aspect of these deals, the International Secretariat considers that, there remains insufficient assessment by the MSG on the China agreement and its implementation in 2020 and the CEC project and the prefinancing agreements with the traders, for stakeholders to be able to assess whether the agreements provide fair value to the government compared to conventional extractive agreements. These assessments would be necessary towards achieving the overall objective of requirement 4.3 of “ensuring public understanding of infrastructure provisions and barter-type arrangements, which provide a significant share of government benefits from an extractive project, that is commensurate with other cash-based company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining, as a basis for comparability to conventional agreements.”
4.4 Transportation revenues
The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 4.4 continues to remain not applicable in the period under review, as in the previous Validation. There was consensus among stakeholders consulted that the ‘maritime tax’ did not constitute a form of government revenues from the transportation of oil but rather a fee for access to the country’s maritime waters paid by companies transporting the crude oil. Nevertheless, the ‘maritime tax’ is of high public interest and continues to be regularly discussed at MSG meetings, with additional disclosures in the 2020 EITI Report. Several government and civil society representatives consulted noted that the next step was for oil companies to recognise that the ‘maritime tax’ was to be paid by oil exporter rather than producers, which would imply that it should not be categorised as a recoverable cost that oil companies could claim reimbursement for as ‘Cost Oil’. Industry representatives consulted did not express a view on the issue. While confirming that the ‘maritime tax’ does not constitute a government transport revenue, the 2020 EITI Report nonetheless describes the levy and provides oil companies’ disclosures of their ‘maritime tax’ payments in 2020, even if only one company (Total) reported any such payments. Given the level of public interest in the issue, there is scope for EITI Congo to expand its disclosures and advocacy around the issue through analysis of ‘maritime tax’ data disclosed through successive EITI reporting.
In the mining sector, transportation is provided by the companies' own resources and there are no government revenues linked to the transportation of mineral commodities. In oil and gas, the 2020 EITI Report provides information on the ‘maritime tax’, including disclosure of one company’s ‘maritime tax’ payments in 2020, and confirms that this payment flow is not considered a form of government revenues from the extractive industries.
4.7 Level of disaggregation
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.7 is mostly met. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of ensuring disaggregation in public disclosures of company payments and government extractive revenues and to enable the public to assess the extent to which the government can monitor its revenue receipts as defined by its legal and fiscal framework was mostly met. They noted that project-level data on relevant government revenue information was available from relevant government agencies, but had not been included in EITI reporting to date. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective is mostly met.
Reconciled financial data in the 2020 EITI Report is broken down by government entity, revenue stream, and company. The definition adopted for the term project is documented in a previous EITI report, which had also defined the revenue streams that are levied at the project level. However, the 2020 EITI Report does not present revenue disclosures for 2020 disaggregated by project in the oil, gas, mining or forestry sectors. Recognising the gap in project-level disaggregation, which was considered an oversight, government officials consulted noted that it would be straightforward to ensure this level of disaggregation in future EITI reporting. There is de facto project-level reporting for the dozen companies holding a single permit or license.
4.8 Data timeliness
Requirement: Fully met
The assessment is that Requirement 4.8 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of timely EITI disclosures to inform policy making and public debate had been fulfilled. The Secretariat concurs but highlights the scope for further improvements in the timeliness of EITI disclosures by increasingly building on new systematic disclosures by the government. The 2018, 2019 and 2020 EITI Reports were published in December 2020, December 2021 and June 2022. The MSG has consistently approved the period for reporting and adopted cash-based accounting for EITI disclosures.
4.9 Data quality and assurance
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.9 is fully met, as in the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective had been achieved, namely of appropriate measures being taken to ensure the reliability of EITI disclosures of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been fulfilled, through the strict adherence to agreed quality assurances for EITI reporting by both government entities and companies.
Although the public sector audit reports from the Supreme Audit Institution (“Cour des Comptes”) are not yet available for the period under review (2020), the 2020 EITI Report contains the IA’s assessment of the comprehensiveness and reliability of the reconciled financial data. The 2020 EITI Report provides a detailed review of audit and assurance procedures and practices in both government revenue-collecting entities and material extractive companies, and sets out the methodology and results of the reconciliation. The EITI Report includes the IA’s clear assessment in line with its carrying out the agreed upon procedures. There is scope for the Republic of Congo to expand its use of EITI reporting as a regular diagnostic of government revenue collecting systems and controls as well as extractive companies’ practices, with a view to formulating recommendations for broader reforms in government and company audit and assurance policies and practices.
5.1 Distribution of revenues
Requirement: Mostly met with improvements
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.1 is mostly met, with considerable improvements since the previous Validation. Most stakeholders consulted considered that the objective of transparency in extractive industry revenues not recorded in the national budget had been achieved, given the reforms in the government’s budget that extended coverage to all oil revenues. However, some CSOs called for more information on the arrears in payments by the CORAF for a share of crude oil deliveries received in 2020. The Secretariat’s view is that the reforms in the government’s financial operations dashboard (TOFE) since the previous Validation have extended the national budget to cover all oil revenues previously managed off-budget, although there remain scope for greater clarity on the nature and categorisation of arrears in the national refinery’s payments for crude oil supplied by the state (and whether these could be considered off-budget in-kind revenues pending payment) before the objective can be considered fully achieved.
The 2020 EITI Report describes the management of public finances according to the single Treasury account principle, and notes the specific exceptions to this principle in the oil sector, through the revenues collected by SNPC on behalf of the state and transferred to escrow accounts for reimbursement of resource-backed loans as well as deductions from the state’s in-kind revenues to repay the costs of development and operations of the CEC power project. All government revenues from the mining and forestry sectors are recorded in the national budget. The report confirms that 63.51% of oil revenues were transferred to the Treasury in 2020, with the remainder constituted by repayments of the resource-backed loans with China and the commodity traders, reimbursements of the CEC power plan costs and the value of the share of crude oil transfers to the CORAF for which payment was not received by the Treasury in 2020. In a note published in August 2022, the Ministry of Finance noted that the payment had been delayed and took place in 2021. The value of revenues collected and retained by the SNPC, including from dividends from its equity interests in extractive companies, the marketing fee for its sales of the state’s in-kind revenues, and SNPC’s equity oil revenues, is also provided in the EITI Report. While the EITI Report categorises social expenditures as a form of ‘off-budget revenues’, the Secretariat’s view is that these do not constitute forms of government revenues and thus should only be covered in the assessment of social expenditures (see Requirement 6.1), not government revenues.
As of 2020, the value of these revenues is recorded in the government’s TOFE and the national budget, albeit not explicitly disaggregated per revenue stream for reimbursements of resource-backed loans with China and the commodity traders. This was confirmed by consultations with stakeholders from all constituencies, including development partners. The 2020 EITI Report provides a general explanation of the management of each of these oil revenues not transferred to the Treasury, albeit only with reference to SNPC’s audited financial statements, not of other financial reports on the reimbursement of resource-backed loans, repayments of the CEC power plant or of the CORAF. Financial reports related to the management of most of these revenues do not appear to be publicly accessible, with only CORAF’s 2019 audited financial statements available on the Ministry of Finance, Budget and the Public Portfolio’s website. The EITI Report provides information on infrastructure works funded under the China agreement in 2019, but notes that this information was not provided for 2020. The management of oil revenues transferred to the China Exim Bank escrow account established to reimburse loans under the China agreement remains unclear in practice, including whether any transfers of oil revenues from the escrow account to the government have taken place from any excess revenues in the account beyond funds used to repay the loans (see Requirement 4.3).
The 2020 EITI Report describes the new crude oil sales agreement between the state and the national refinery CORAF concluded in 2020 (and published in August 2022) as well as the expansion of the government’s financial and budget reporting through the TOFE and national budget, to include crude oil transfers to the CORAF and other financial subsidies granted by the state. Figures provided in the 2020 EITI Report indicate that the CORAF only paid for around USD 120m of the estimated USD 249m value of the 6.1m barrels supplied by the state to the refinery in 2020, alongside a XAF 35bn subsidy granted in the 2020 budget to the CORAF. There was significant debate over these figures in stakeholder consultations, with several government officials arguing that the USD 249m estimated value of the 6.1m barrels of crude oil supplied to the CORAF was not correct, and noting that the payment for the last two months of crude oil supplies to the CORAF in 2020 would have been paid in the first months of 2021. Several government officials consulted also argued that the XAF 35bn subsidy from the state to the CORAF was discounted from the value of crude oil purchases that CORAF should have made to the government, although other stakeholders consulted considered that the budget subsidy to the CORAF was not meant to cover the cost of crude oil supplies. The CORAF oil sales agreement published in August 2022 confirms that the value of oil sales to the refinery is calculated with the fiscal price for crude oil, net of 15% tax (proportional mining royalty – RMP), in accordance with the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code. It also confirms the 60 day period for payment after crude oil deliveries. Regardless of the explanation of these EITI figures, there was consensus among stakeholders consulted that there had been arrears in payment by the CORAF for its crude oil purchases in 2020. There is scope for EITI Congo to expand its coverage of CORAF’s financial relations with the state to more clearly explain the refinery’s payments for the supply of crude oil, the categorisation of any arrears in payment and the potential for a share of crude oil supplies to the CORAF to constitute off-budget government revenues pending their full payment by the refinery. The Natural Resources Department of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio has published a note clarifying the figures related to the delivery of crude oil to the CORAF and its payment. There have been considerable improvements in the transparency of oil revenues not transferred to the Treasury since the previous Validation, in the context of budget reforms under the IMF programme. There is however scope for further improving the management of revenues transferred to the escrow account to repay loans under the China agreement, and to systematize the reporting of financial flows between the State and CORAF, including the arrears. Thus, while most technical aspects of Requirement 5.1 have been addressed, the Secretariat’s view is that the objective remains mostly met.
5.3 Revenue management and expenditures
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.3 remains not assessed, given that several encouraged aspects of this requirement remain to be addressed by the EITI in the Republic in Congo.
The Republic of Congo has addressed some aspects of Requirement 5.3, primarily through EITI reporting and the EITI Congo financial modelling study. However, while the MSG has provided some information on revenue and expenditure management, it has not addressed the accountability aspects of the requirement related to the management of earmarked revenues, assumptions and budget projections. The public sector audit reports of the Court of Accounts and Budgetary Discipline are not yet publicly available for the period under review (2020). Therefore, it cannot yet be said that the Republic of Congo has fully met or exceeded all technical aspects and the overall objective of this requirement.
4.6 Subnational payments
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 4.6 remains not applicable in the period under review, as in the previous Validation. Stakeholder consultations confirmed that there were no direct subnational payments by extractive companies, consistent with the findings of the 2020 EITI Report.
5.2 Subnational transfers
Requirement: Fully met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 5.2 is fully met. Most stakeholders consulted did not express views on progress towards the objective of transparency in subnational transfers of extractive revenues, although some CSOs noted the need to implement subnational transfers in accordance with the 2000 Decree and the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code that codify such mechanisms. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective has been met in the absence of subnational transfers in practice, given the use of EITI reporting to disclose the aggregate value of subnational transfers that should have been transferred according to the general revenue-sharing formula. Once the implementing regulations for the subnational transfers are prepared and enacted, the Republic of Congo will be required to disclose the actual transfers to each beneficiary subnational government and any discrepancies between the value of transfers and what should have been transferred according to the revenue-sharing formula.
The 2020 EITI Report confirms the lack of transfers of petroleum revenues to subnational governments in practice, despite legal provisions requiring such subnational transfers. However, the Republic of Congo has used its EITI reporting to calculate estimates of the value of subnational transfers according to the revenue-sharing formula. Thus, while Requirement 5.2 was assessed as Not Applicable given the lack of execution of subnational transfers, the
Secretariat’s view is that the assessment should be fully met in light of the EITI reporting of undisbursed subnational transfers of extractive revenues, even if only in aggregate. Consultations clarified that it was not possible to calculate the value of subnational transfers per designated beneficiary in the absence of implementing regulations that set the modalities of such calculations. The EITI Report provides similar calculations of notional subnational transfers of forestry revenues according to the revenue-sharing formula, confirming the lack of such transfers in practice in 2020.
6.1 Social and environmental expenditures
Requirement: Mostly met
The Secretariat's assessment is that Requirement 6.1 is mostly met. Most stakeholders from all constituencies consulted considered that the objective of transparency in mandatory social expenditures had been achieved, but considered that the objective of transparency in environmental payments to government (and to third parties) was not yet achieved given that the MSG’s scoping ahead of EITI reporting had not yet been expanded to consider such payments. The Secretariat’s view is that the objective of transparency in both social expenditures and environmental payments is mostly achieved in the period under review.
There are provisions requiring companies to undertake mandatory social expenditures in certain petroleum production-sharing contracts and some mining contracts. The Republic of Congo has used its EITI reporting to disclose information on extractive companies’ mandatory and voluntary social expenditures. The 2020 EITI Report states that the IA reviewed a number of production-sharing contracts and mining contracts to assess the existence of mandatory social expenditure requirements, although the contract sample size reviewed by the IA is unclear from public documents. In consultation, the IA explained that it had reviewed the PSCs involving material companies, but considered that the comprehensive reporting from all extractive companies aside from one small mining company implied that the disclosures of mandatory social expenditures in the 2020 EITI Report were comprehensive of all such social expenditures by material companies. The EITI Report provides disclosures of mandatory social expenditures from one petroleum company and one mining company. Most of the information listed in Requirement 6.1.a is provided for these two companies’ mandatory social expenditure disclosures, although not the date of payments or the locations (regions) of the beneficiaries. These disclosures were submitted to the same quality assurances as the rest of material companies’ reporting of payments to government. Stakeholders consulted from all constituencies considered these disclosures to be comprehensive of all mandatory social expenditures undertaken in 2020. The IA highlighted additional workshops with extractive companies in preparing the 2020 EITI Report to ensure comprehensive reporting of payments, including mandatory social expenditures. Several government officials consulted considered the SNPC Foundation’s spending to constitute voluntary social expenditures.
The existence and nature of extractive companies’ environmental payments to government remains unclear based on the 2020 EITI Report, which discloses information on forestry companies’ environmental expenditures only. The EITI Report hints at the existence of environmental payments to government by mining and petroleum companies in its references to the need to submit Environmental Impact Assessments, which implies that some form of government fee exists for processing these impact assessments, but does not clearly describe any such payments to government. In consultations, several government and civil society stakeholders noted that the scoping of EITI Reports had not yet been extended to extractive companies’ environmental payments to government or other types of environmental expenditures to the benefit of third parties. They noted for instance that companies operating under contracts awarded under the 2016 Hydrocarbons Code were required to make annual payments to an environmental rehabilitation fund, an escrow account opened at the central bank, equivalent to 0.5% of their annual turnover. Several officials also noted that extractive companies were required to adhere to the Law on the Protection of the Environment and that it was possible that extractive companies were required to make payments to government related to the environment. Stakeholders from government, industry and civil society committed to undertaking more work on environmental payment disclosures in future EITI reporting.