June 11, 2013

G8, by championing the Extractive Industries Transparency Directive, might be selling snake-oil-illusions

Sir, I refer to Vanessa Houlder’s note “Extractive Industries” June 11, where she writes about Cameron urging his G8 partners to champion the Extractive Industries Transparency Directive, June 11.

I certainly appreciate the efforts of the initiative but, as an oil-cursed citizen of a country like Venezuela, where over 97 percent of all the nations exports go directly into government coffers, I cannot but feel that selling the idea that that kind of transparency could solve our oil curse problems, is like selling snake-oil-illusions, something which can only help the ruler and his petrocrats.

Let me ask you, if the UK was in a similar position, would you settle for more transparency, or would you directly go for wrestling that excessive natural resource power out of your ruler’s hand?

By the way, in 2003 you published a letter in which I held that all European taxmen were, by means of gasoline/petrol taxes getting more revenues per barrel of oil than any country who gives up that non-renewable resource forever. And, since that is still true, even at current oil prices, I ask again why does not EITI’s call for transparency cover that?