Updated: Sep 15
What is it?
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard which promotes open and accountable measurement of natural resources. This is done by encouraging transparency and accountability by companies and governments involved in the extractive industries, which include oil, gas and mining, by informing citizens of payments made between companies and governments, as an independent, unbiased third party.
The Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) is part of a worldwide association of governments, extractive companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from the extraction of natural resources.
Now this brings us to the question, What does the TTEITI really do:
Independent assurance on the money T&T earns from all natural resources produced
Accessible, relevant data on the energy sector
Recommendations for the government to improve revenue collection and audit and assurance systems.
The TTEITI produces an annual report on the extractive industries in Trinidad and Tobago. The title of the 2017 report summary is “Champagne History. Mauby Reality. Adjusting to The New Normal.” Most of us being Trinbagonians may understand the term “Champagne taste with mauby pocket”, but for those who don’t, it simply is a popular local term, which suggests that a person is living beyond their means.
“Champagne history. Mauby reality” can be used to accurately describe the current economic climate of Trinidad and Tobago.
Our fossil fuel based economy has provided us with a lot of revenue in the past, due to the abundance of natural resources, the high demand of those same natural resources and the high selling price of those resources.
For example, in the financial year 2008, the country earned roughly TT$32.4 billion in oil and gas revenues when the global price of oil peaked to US$145 per barrel and the price of natural gas was at a high of US$13 per mmbtu.
Now, however, with global oil and natural gas prices being low, coupled with a decrease in production, the economy of Trinidad and Tobago is not performing as well as it used to.
Energy sector revenues fell to TT$6.58 billion in 2016 and continued to decline in 2017 to TT$6.53 billion.
This low production output is as a result of:
Natural gas curtailments due to maintenance work by major gas producers
Insufficient investment in new exploration and production
With this decline in energy revenues, we are now experiencing job cuts and layoffs, cuts in government spending, decreases in the fuel subsidy and shortages in US foreign currency.
Still, as Trinbagonians, we have not properly adjusted much to this economic crisis. We still have subsidies on electricity and fuel, we still expect our government to pay our tuition, we spend frivolously without regard.
Is Trinidad and Tobago spending beyond their means? Are we being efficient and wise with our revenue/income?