CAFOD joins campaign for business transparency

 Yesterday, CAFOD joined over 30 other development agencies in the "Publish What You Pay" campaign to call on the government to require companies to reveal what they pay to governments of developing countries. The international financier and philanthropist, George Soros, helped launch the campaign calling for legislation for mandatory disclosure so that citizens in developing countries are able to call their governments to account over management of natural resource revenues. Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mr Soros said: "Secrecy over state revenues encourages ruling elites to mismanage and misappropriate money rather than invest in long-term development. What we want is very simple: G7 countries should require transnational resources companies to disclose what they pay for the products of the individual countries in which they operate. This is a real chance to promote good fiscal governance and help tackle worldwide poverty." Relying on companies to disclose information voluntarily has so far failed because many fear being undermined by less scrupulous competitors. Also governments in resource rich countries are reluctant to let companies disclose the deals. For example, an announcement made last year by oil giant BP that it would aim for transparency in its dealings with the Angolan government led to threats of expulsion. Julian Filochowski, Director of CAFOD, said: "The Publish What You Pay" campaign is a great opportunity to see investment in developing countries applied to poverty elimination. Many of the world's poorest people live in conflict ridden countries whose governments annually receive millions of dollars in revenue from rich natural resources. Payment disclosure on a country by country basis by companies working in the extractive industries offers those people the opportunity to hold their governments to account for how that money is spent."

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