State secretary, Roger Schjerva, Ministry of Finance, says he will send the legal report from Publish What You Pay to the Ministry of Finance for a hearing*. *The legal report, in Norwegian and English, can be downloaded at the bottom of the page
What this report is, and what this is not* *...what it is
This is a very brief legal report commissioned by PWYP Norway and written by the Norwegian lawyer firm Arntzen de Besche. The mandate of PWYP Norway is limited to oil, gas and mining sectors and this report is hence limited to this specific sector.
The financing and time limited the mandate for this concrete report to focus on how Norway easily can implement a country by country regulation for extractive companies in Norwegian law, that can open up for further and necessary regulations quite quickly. * This report looks at what has already happened in the US and in the EU. It gives a legal consideration on a suggestion for how a Norwegian law text can be based upon this, for the extractives sector, on how this can be done quite quickly, and with the intention to _open up for further elements to be reported_.
..what it is _not
This report is _not_ a full and exhausted report on all elements that PWYP Norway wants regulated.
This report does not include a full and exhaustive list of demands from PWYP Norway.
This report did not have the mandate nor the financing for the much larger assignment where each and every element needs to be looked at. This report is not our final or full input on country by country reporting. It was made clear in the presentation from PWYP Norway during the launch, the concrete elements that will need regulation. PWYP Norway demands go beyond US Dodd-Frank regulation. If you have any questions regarding this report, we would be happy to hear from you in an email and we will try to gather all relevant questions.
Excerpts from and statements made from the political panel debate
(We advise you to watch the "video")_
*Helen Bjørnøy, general secretary, Plan Norway*: * _"Country by country reporting is a tool that will contribute to a strong civil society... and that a civil society can hold their government accountable and the possibility to secure that revenues will benefit the whole society._
"I would like to challenge you. I think you take a too passive role. I experience that when you talk, you say that you will wait for the EU, wait and see how things develop in the US and then, we'll evaluate and possibly evaluate if we should do this on an individual basis"._
"I expect that we have a government that has a much more proactive role on this to get this in place. Because we can go in front, we have the financial resources to go in front, we have the legal competence to be contributors to go in front, and we can have a much more proactive role and attitude on this".
"I think we shall do what SoriaMoria 2 says _(coalition gov. white paper) , because there it is stated that we should work on tax, capital control and transparency in revenues from natural resources."
*Roger Schjerva, state secretary, Ministry of Finance*: "_when you say that this is between the millions of children on the one side and one more form for private sector on the other, I can assure you ... which side I am on"_
"..even if this only helps a little, we shall do it, right..? I am for introducing another form if that's what it takes, as we have to show solidarity and we have to demand from business that they are willing to support this"._ * "_The first thing I will do is to ask the Ministry to go through all input on this area and I have asked specifically to go through the Publish What You Pay model".
Sturla Henriksbø, central board member, Christian Democratic Party (KRF)*: "If Norway wants to be a proactive actor in this, we should be in front and influence the EU. I think the government has spent far too long assessing this. The capital flight report from 2009 said we needed to explore this further. Now, we are closing up to summer 2010 and still the government says they will assess this. I think this goes far too slowly." "...when can we expect Norway to implement this?
Roger Schjerva, state secretary, Ministry of Finance*: "The Norwegian government is for such regulations, we have even opened up for having such regulations even though EU should decide not to have such regulations. I think that is not very likely, but it may be possible that the EU, a a compromise, decides to use a very, very long time before they implement this, that they decide this in principle but that they do not implement it until ten years from now, we have seen this in financial market regulations, and then Norway has said that we will implement earlier and be in front in this way. I have not seen any other European countries opening up for implementing this even if EU should conclude not to do this, or if EU should spend a very long time. So, Norway is in front in this area"._ * _"I have decided today that we will send this on a hearing in the Financial Supervisory Authority ("Finanstilsynet") to have their views on this. We shall move forward with the content of a country by country reporting. We shall work on this with regards to the technical committees that we participate in. We will have a Nordic meeting for the ministers of Finance in June, and then it is natural that we bring this up, in order to secure a good process form the Nordic countries.."_
Arild Stokkan Grande, Member of Parliament, Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)*:
"when USA has taken these steps, it should be possible to do this also for Norway. "I want to take a personal responsibility to make sure this is not something we just discuss.."_ Legal technical clarifications by Arntzen de Besche*
Arntzen de Besche is a business law firm but has worked primarily with oil and oil development. We have worked with the Norwegian oil industry since 1965, and originally we worked with the oil companies, which we still do, but we work a lot as advisers to the Norwegian government, the petroleum directorate, the petroleum authorities and oil- and energy department. In the last ten years we have advised governments in oil producing countries and the mining countries a lot. Partly, we have been commissioned through the Norwegian programme "Oil for development", in part through the UN and in part we have direct commitments from various governments, through, among other things, participating in tenders. So we have worked with twenty countries, at least, in Africa, America, South America and Asia, particularly within oil and mining, where we advise on legislation, typically design of petroleum consulting and how we as a part of that work are very focused on transparency in the national legislation. It is crucial in the Norwegian “Oil for Development” program, that implementation of transparency with the fundamental goal".
"I would also like to mention that we have worked closely with the EITI and the implementation of the EITI requirements in Norway. I must say that for us, this step we're about to take, is a step that can be done quickly because there has been a significant work with assessments including EITI implementations in Norway. When it comes to our mandate here, it has been legal-technical and see how you can approach and get an implementation".
"We have emphasized that if one lies close to the new American legislation in Dodd-Frank which after all will only cover the oil company side, probably also 90% of all oil companies in the world, it would be advantagous to do it quickly. To be in harmony with the principle of the American legislation will obviously be the simplest and faster. But the progress we have proposed, as you can see behind us, is that you go to carry out only one main provision that can, in our view, be implemented quickly. The main provision you see consists of two sentences: The first sentence that I would like to emphasize is carrying out the duty of reporting accounts for payments. The obligation should be laid down immediately, so this is not just an authorization decision to regulate, namely the obligation in regulation, which comes in the second sentence".
"So we think then, that one type of determination like this, that is close to the U.S., at least the core of the american Dodd-Frank regulation, could be implemented quickly, and obviously go through a regulation process to do the details, and it will of course depend on the Ministry of Finance how quickly it can be done. I would like to mention that in regulatory context it would be an opportunity to consider a phased advance, where in the first stage - if you get through a first regulation rather quickly - it may be on a main level and that doesn't means that one can't later advance to a second stage and more details when you see results of the american details as well as from the EU. Otherwise, I'll briefly mention that we have proposed this regulation in the Securities Trading Act in relation to annual reporting requirements of the Securities Trading Act, which we believe is an appropriate place to do it. We have, as you will see from the report, also considered whether it could be included in Accounting but have found it more appropriate for the target group in question - which are listed companies - to take this to the Securities Trading Act".
"The main reason for choosing the annual report which listed companies are required to have, you catch a wider area. You include several other companies that belong to countries outside the EU. So that is the rationale for choosing this approach, that it includes some foreign companies as well as Norwegian listed companies. The very assessment will not be different if you choose to include other industries".
"The reason we have focused on the extraction companies within these two sectors, and here all companies doing business of any significance will be listed companies. This is because capital needs are so great in these industries that everyone will need to raise capital through stock exchanges. So for this sector, ie the oil and mining sector, we do not believe that there are any companies that are relevant which are not listed. We believe that we capture all the essentials by aiming for these type of companies. But you also questions whether we should have been broader and included other business sectors. We have not considered this, and I think that is a much more complicated and nuanced assessment that has to do what you really want to catch. It might then be relevant to implement it into Accounting, but in that case it should probably be stage two where they perform a much wider and more thorough assessment of sectors other than the sectors that we have assessed".
The report The report is available in Norwegian and English.