Top United States’ Senators Benjamin Cardin and Richard Lugar have expressed strong support for Iraq’s commitment to greater transparency in its oil and gas industry.
Cardin is a senior Democrat from the State of Maryland while Lugar is a core Republican from the State of Indiana, and both are members of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Iraq formally announced its intention to become a candidate country in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) last week, following years of growing interest in the initiative from Iraqi leaders.
The Tide notes that EITI is an international coalition of governments, companies and civil society that promotes good governance through the publication of oil, gas and mining revenues.
According to Cardin, who has promoted EITI as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, “this is a significant step towards a greater future for Iraq”.
“The EITI process has proven to strengthen civil society and increase revenue transparency. By joining this coalition, Iraq’s leaders are committing to transparency that will empower citizens to hold their government accountable,” he added.
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said “as oil and gas is the single largest source of revenue for Iraq, it is important that the revenues generated benefit the people of Iraq, and not just a handful of businessmen and officials,” stressing that, ”by committing to implement EITI, Iraq is creating a foundation for good governance and accountability in a sector critical to the country’s future stability.”
Senators Cardin and Lugar, along with eight other co-sponsors, recently introduced the Energy Security Through Transparency Act (S. 1700), a bipartisan bill that aims to increase transparency through public disclosure of oil, gas and mining payments, and encourages United States’ participation in EITI.