Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Amendment Steps Towards Progress

On July 15, the anti-poverty fight took a massive leap of progress, with the US Senate passing an amendment to the Financial Regulation Bill that will dramatically enhance transparency efforts in developing countries. The Cardin-Lugar Transparency amendment makes it mandatory for all oil, gas and mining companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange to disclose what they pay to foreign governments for the right to extract natural resources. Placing these numbers in the hands of local civil society will help them hold their governments to account and cut down on corruption. The Transparency Act is a valuable tool in promoting economic growth.

Transparency in resource payments is an important tool to help improve the lives of people in poor countries. It ensures that payments received by governments for natural resources go towards meeting the poverty-fighting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) like increasing access to healthcare, education and clean water, rather than into the pockets of corrupt public officials.

“Transparency empowers citizens, investors, regulators, and other watchdogs and is a necessary ingredient of good governance for countries and companies alike. The Cardin-Lugar amendment brings a major step in favor of increased transparency at home and abroad. It empowers investors to have a more complete view of the value of their holdings. It brings more information to global commodity markets, which would benefit price stability. Most importantly, it helps empower citizens to hold their governments to account for the decisions made by their governments in the management of valuable oil, gas, and mineral resources and revenues,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Lugar in a Senate floor statement.

-Molly McNeill