AUDIO: RWI Economist Explains Links Between Transparency and Development Challenges

On November 16, Revenue Watch Institute Senior Economist Antoine Heuty spoke to Senegal's West Africa Democracy Radio about Nigeria's subnational project, the Bayelsa Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (BEITI), which was launched on November 5. Heuty also spoke about the link between the lack of transparency and corruption, violence, and failed development; the importance of civil society engagement in transparency reform; and RWI's history of transparency advocacy in the extractive sector.

As many resource-rich countries pass substantial oil wealth directly to producing regions such as Nigeria's Bayelsa State, incorrect or distorted expectations about the extractive industries also follow on the local level, explained Heuty. "Very often, because people are not given information, they don't know how much money is flowing into the budgets. In the [Niger] Delta, a number of government officials don't even know how much money they are receiving. So people don't see the services—education, health and other interactive services—and they get angry. That's where opening the budgets can restore a sense of accountability and responsibility on the part of the government to deliver some basic social services to the population."

The BEITI was established with planning and technical advice from RWI and will bring together executives from government ministries, officials from the state's House of Assembly, civil society groups and leaders from the oil and gas industry to audit state income from all sources. The Initiative will also monitor public expenditures at the state government level.

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