EITI Armenia presented 4th National EITI Report

EITI Armenia presented 4th National EITI Report

The annual conference of The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Armenia took place on December 22, during which the 2020-2021 National EITI Report was presented to the attendees.

The conference launched with welcome speeches delivered by the representatives of the RA Government, the EITI International Secretariat, and the Office of the World Bank in Armenia. Particularly, Tigran Khachatryan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and Chair of EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group, made an opening speech, introducing the experience of the previous years and the achieved results, highlighting that the RA Government and the Multi-Stakeholder Group are committed to meeting the continuously increasing requirements of the EITI Standard, and to actively working in the direction of strengthening good governance practices in the mining sector.

Mark Robinson, Executive Director of EITI International Secretariat, welcomed the participants joining the conference remotely. In his speech, he mentioned that the Republic of Armenia is considered an exemplary country in the international EITI community, which has made great progress in the implementation of transparency and accountability standards. Robinson particularly highlighted Armenia's progressive pace in the implementation of the requirements of disclosing beneficial owners and publishing mining contracts.

In his welcoming speech, Gnel Sanosyan, RA Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, emphasized the importance of using the EITI findings in the ongoing activities of the Ministry, whereas Narine Tadevosyan, representative of the Office of the World Bank in Armenia, once again underlined the challenging and effective path of the EITI Armenia, noting the importance of the sustainable development of the mining industry, including transparency and accountability, in the further progress of the Armenian economy.

Right after the welcome speeches, Ernst & Young CJSC (EY), the Independent Administrator of Armenia, presented a summary of the 4th National EITI Report of 2020-2021 fiscal year, which was prepared by the order of the RA Prime Minister's Office. The EY team introduced the main sections of the report, state revenues from the sector and their distribution, data on the socio-economic contribution of subsoil users, the legal framework regulating the sector, and the key legislative amendments during the reporting years. The results of the comparison of financial data and recommendations aimed at the improvement of EITI process were presented.

The second part of the conference saw two-panel discussions. During the first discussion entitled "Changes Implemented in the Mining Sector within the Vision of the Development of the Sector", Arman Poghosyan, Deputy Minister of Finance, presented the sector-related legislative changes that had taken place in the previous 2 years, which are related to the tax regime, and introduced the changes made in the order of royalty calculation, which will come into force from January 2023. Hovhannes Harutyunyan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the RA presented the legislative initiative of the RA Government, as a result of which, starting from 2024, the affected settlements will receive allocations from the royalties of the metal mining industry. It was discussed that the order of funds distribution, expenditure directions, and accountability requirements were defined. It was mentioned that the list of affected settlements is approved by the order of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, and that it will be updated every year. Arthur Ghavalyan, Deputy Head of the Strategic Policy Department of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia, informed that in previous years, there has been a legal expansion of the list of companies that, paying environmental taxes, dedicate allocations to the affected communities enabling them to implement environmental and healthcare programs. Narine Tadevosyan, representative of the Office of the World Bank in Armenia, discussed how the demands for metals will increase during the transition to "green energy" and what the management challenges of the mining industry will be.

The second panel was titled "Application of the EITI Data as a Tool for Anti-Corruption and Public Scrutiny over the Sector", during which Ernst & Young lawyers Edgar Meyroyan and Grigor Grigoryan detailed the meaning of the concept of "beneficial ownership" and its legal phrasings from the point of view of public scrutiny.Tatev Mkrtchyan, Head of the Agency for State Register of Legal Entities of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, spoke about the work that the Agency carries out in the direction of ensuring the quality of the data available to the public in the declarations regarding beneficial ownership. Civilnet journalist Ani Grigoryan presented how important the trainings aimed at building capacities to use data about beneficial ownership are for those working in the media field.Victoria Burnazyan, member of the MSG civil society faction, as well as Vice-President of the "EcoLur" informational NGO, shared the work they carry out to increase awareness of the EITI data, exposing them to more active usage by NGOs within the framework of public scrutiny.

The preparation of the fourth National EITI Report, as well as the conference were carried out under the World Bank's "Support to EITI Armenia. additional financing" grant program.