African petroleum law gains international praise

A law designed to manage national petroleum resources in Africa's Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe has been praised by the World Bank.

The high standards of transparency in Sao Tome and Principe's petroleum revenue management law have been taken as positive signs of the country's dedication to good management and use of future petroleum revenue by the organisation.

Among other things, the law proposes an oil fund that will be held by an international custodial bank. It also outlines the yearly amounts of money to be used for national expenditures, as well as the portion of revenue that must be retained for a permanent reserve in order to support the country once the resources have been exhausted.

Moreover, the new law states that the receipt and use of all petroleum funds are to be classed as public information, and will be easily accessible to any member of the public by the most appropriate means.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other donors provided the country with expert assistance throughout the development and adoption of the petroleum revenue management law.

"The level of transparency written into the law, together with the recent signing by President de Menezes, of the Abuja Declaration, adopting the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), provide a unique opportunity to set an example of success for the management and use of the petroleum resources," the Sao Tome and Principe country director at the World Bank, A David Craig stated.

"The World Bank would like to congratulate the authorities for their understanding of the risks and benefits brought about by petroleum revenues, and for their foresight in adopting a law that will help the country avoid the egregious impacts of these monies."

By Jane Kettle



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