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Cablegate: Transparency Initiative Moves Forward--Slowly

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAB #0592 2871446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141446Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5431
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000592

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EMIN ENRG EPET PGOV PREL IV
SUBJECT: TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE MOVES FORWARD--SLOWLY

REF: (A) ABIDJAN 431 (B) SECSTATE 28858 (C) ABIDJAN 240

1. (U) Summary. Cote d'Ivoire's initial report for
compliance with the Extractive Industry Transparency
Initiative (EITI) is behind schedule. Nevertheless, it is
still possible for the GOCI to meet the May 2010 deadline for
EITI validation. End summary.

2. (U) In an October 8 meeting with emboffs and visiting
desk officer (Emily Narkis), the president of Cote d'Ivoire's
EITI National Council, N'Dri Koffi, said the Hart Group has
not completed Cote d'Ivoire's initial EITI compliance report,
which covers the hydrocarbon sector for 2006 and 2007. Koffi
had previously predicted the report would be finished by
September 30 (ref A).

3. (SBU) Koffi reported, and a Hart Group representative
confirmed, that consultants have completed a template for
the report but still do not have all the information needed
to finalize it. The Hart Group has received information from
private oil and gas producers, the national petroleum company
(PETROCI), and the Bureau of the Treasury and Public Finance
(DGTCP). The group awaits data from the Bureau of Taxes
(DGI), without which it cannot reconcile the government and
private-sector numbers. David Quinn, senior consultant at
the Hart Group, reported that he has written the DGI director
general directly to request the data.

4. (SBU) Quinn said Hart Group consultants are scheduled to
visit Abidjan to resolve data differences the week of October
26, provided the firm has received the DGI data by that time.
Koffi has proposed that the EITI National Council consider
the final version of the report on November 13. Koffi said
that before the end of January 2010 the GOCI plans to hire a
consultant to carry out the EITI validation process. He also
noted that the EITI website, which he thought would be
operational by August 31 (ref A), will not be running before
the end of November.

5. (SBU) Comment. It is not clear whether the GOCI will be
able to complete the validation process before the May 11,
2010, deadline imposed by the EITI Board (ref B). Koffi
seemed much less confident about the GOCI's ability to do so
than he has in previous meetings. However, Richard
Doffonsou, senior economist at the World Bank, told emboffs
he believes the GOCI will be able to meet the deadline. As
post noted in ref C, the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) initiative provides a strong incentive for
the GOCI to comply with EITI norms. The triggers for Cote
d'Ivoire's floating HIPC completion point include "(r)egular
public reporting of payments to, and revenues
received by, the government for the extractive industries
(mining, oil and gas) in line with the EITI criteria, with a
recent annual report during at least the year immediately
preceding the completion point." While HIPC may be the
strongest incentive for EITI compliance, the May date set by
the EITI Board is the operative deadline for the GOCI to
stay on track.
NESBITT

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