Norwegian law can help African civil society

image In January, a new legislation will be introduced in Norway that might prevent capital flight and ensure a greater degree of transparency. Three activists from the civil society in South Sudan, Uganda and Ghana explain why this law is vital for their work. See the video interview!

On the 5th of December the Norwegian Parliament voted for a new legislation on country-by-country reporting. These new regulations require Norwegian companies in the extractive and forestry industries to report some essential accounting figures, among others: their tax payments.

PWYP Norway has emphasized that there are several weaknesses in this legislation, which does not require disclosure of financial information from subsidiaries in tax havens, nor audited accounting figures.

Read the press statement from PWYP Norway

The Norwegian parliament has however put pressure on the government, which is responsible for shaping the new legislation and making it operational. The parliament asks the government to ensure that the regulatory framework governing country-by-country reporting incorporates the objective of highlighting undesirable tax planning.

Norwegian civil society will in the upcoming months play a key role in holding the government accountable when shaping this legislation.

The new law on country-by-country reporting will also have great consequences outside the Norwegian borders. Many African countries that are regarded as poor, do in reality have an abundance of natural resources.

A greater degree of financial transparency will enable countries in the South to better detect the value of their natural resources and to identify companies that avoid taxation in developing countries by placing their profits in tax havens.

James Ninrew from South Sudan, Winnie Ngabiirwe from Uganda og Abena Afari from Ghana do wholeheartedly support the Norwegian initiative on implementing country-by-country reporting.

They were 3 of the 25 participants on a training course arranged by PWYP Norway in Oslo in November.

James, Winnie and Abena work against corruption and capital flight in their home countries, and provide clear recommendations to Norwegian politicians.

- Norway is playing a vital role regarding transparency in the oil sector. Norway should implement extended country-by-country reporting. We want to deepen the transparency. This can help African governments in allocating more resources to development, said Abena Afari of Christian Aid in Ghana.

- Capital flight from Africa is a global problem. The civil society in Uganda wants to ensure that the natural resources are being used for development purposes, said Winnie Ngabiirwe in PWYP Uganda.

- Norway has important experience in extracting oil resources, which many African countries can learn from, said James Ninrew from PWYP South Sudan.