Where does the petrol dollars go? Missing transparency

AFRICA - Several African oil-producing countries are at the bottom of the list in transparency of oil revenues
Rome (Agenzia Fides) – Some of the major African oil-producers are among the countries with the least amount of transparency regarding use of oil revenues, according to the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI), a non-profit insitute that promotes transparency in the management of oil, gas and other minerals.
Equatorial Guinea, , Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, and Ghana were cited as countries with the scant revenue transparency in Africa, while Brazil and Norway ranked highest in comprehensive revenue transparency for making public detailed information about the key resources.
Russia, Mexico, and Chile came in second, third, and fifth place. Turkmenistan ranked last, below Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 56-page report compares how much the 41 governments disclose publicly about the money they receive for oil, gas and minerals exploitation, and about contracts and other basic data. In nearly all these countries, natural resources are public assets, and the revenues are managed in trust by the government on behalf of its citizens.
“We found that, in too many countries, governments give citizens little information about this crucial part of the economy,” said RWI director Karin Lissakers. “Without access to information, the public has very limited influence on how governments manage the resources and how governments use the revenues.”
Openness about how income is used, is important to combat corruption and help lower citizens' mistrust of their governments, the report said. Transparent, accountable management of these revenues is also fundamental to economic development and political stability. Transparency is one of good governance's essential building blocks.
The bishops of several African countries (like Nigeria and Chad) have repeatedly denounced the waste, mismanagement, and corruption in the use of often abundant natural resources on their own territory. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2010)