At a recent Istanbul workshop on extractive sector transparency in Eurasia, Rysbek Toktogul—tax and financial compliance manager at Kyrgyzstan’s largest mining project—stood out as the only private sector executive in the room.
His country, Kyrgyzstan, has substantial deposits of coal, tin, tungsten, and, most significantly, gold. In 2013, the flagship Kumtor gold mine (run by Centerra Gold, Inc.) produced 600,000 ounces, the lion’s share of the country’s gold output. According to the Kyrgyz Republic’s 2012 EITI report (its latest), mining constituted about 11 percent of budget revenues, about 7 percent of GDP and 44 percent of total exports for the Kyrgyz Republic.
In 2004 Kyrgyzstan joined the EITI initiative and so far has published nine reports. The country produces EITI Reports that disclose revenues from the extraction of its natural resources. Companies disclose what they have paid in taxes and other payments and the government discloses what it has received. These two sets of figures are compared and reconciled. The country does not have a sovereign wealth fund and works with different international institutions to improve the business climate to attract foreign investment. It aims to increase revenues from the extractive industries through diversification of the sector.
In Istanbul, Toktogul joined 34 civil society actors, experts and parliamentarians to develop data analysis skills to better leverage Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reports for the improvement of resource governance. In a brief interview, Toktogul described his unique experience at the workshop—and the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches.
NRGI: What was your expectation going into this workshop?
Toktogul: This was my first training with NRGI and came from my own desire to participate. I am a member of the EITI multi-stakeholder group (MSG) in Kyrgyzstan, so I collaborate with government and civil society organizations (CSOs). In 2015 Kyrgyzstan should publish its first report based on the new EITI Standard. The country has already gone further than other countries in Eurasia by providing more detailed extractives data. But the new report will be even more comprehensive. I was interested in gaining skills to use the public information of extractive companies to analyze EITI reports.
Which part of the workshop was most useful for you?
We looked at license allocation, state-owned enterprises and government receipts. All three topics were relevant to Kyrgyzstan. All parts of the workshop were both useful and interesting.
Were you able to learn from the experience of other countries?
There were practical sessions where we looked at reports on Azerbaijan, Albania and Kazakhstan. In each session we applied the Natural Resource Charter, information from EITI reports and other sources to collect information, provide policy evaluation and prepare recommendations. I was able to compare Kyrgyzstan to these countries.
Did you enjoy mixing with CSO and other MSG members as the only extractive company representative?
Yes, it is useful for me to understand the expectations of NGOs and CSOs. I was also heavily involved in discussions and presentations during the group work.
What other topics would you like to see covered? Are there other training programs you’d like to be a part of?
I learned that NRGI and the Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub provide training on extractives, revenue management, economic diversification and other topics. I would be interested in other sessions on transparency of extractive companies and extractive industries revenue management.
How will you apply what you learned to your work?
As I mentioned, I am a member of the Kyrgyzstan MSG on EITI. I think being open to the public and CSOs helps extractive companies mitigate doubts about their image, transparency and accountability. This training will help me to work and communicate better within the MSG and keep me very active during discussions on the next EITI report of Kyrgyzstan.
Fidan Bagirova is NRGI’s Eurasia senior officer.
Original source of the article is here