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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    28 August  2012

New law ends 'secret' oil, mining firms' payments to Cambodia


Oxfam America praised the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday for implementing a 2010 transparency law which it said would provide important  information to investors and "help stem corruption" in resource-rich countries.

Final regulations issued on August 22 require oil, gas and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose payments they make at the country and project level to the United States and foreign governments, a statement said. They cover more than 1,100 companies including about 90 per cent of internationally-operating oil companies and many of the top international mining companies.  

"For Cambodia, this means that companies operating in Cambodia, such as Chevron, Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) will have to comply with the new rules and disclose payments made to the Cambodian government on a project-by-project basis for fiscal years ending after Sept 30, 2013 in 2014," it said.

Brian Lund, Oxfam America’s regional director for East Asia, said the SEC had "struck a powerful blow against secret payments from oil and mining companies to governments.

"With the click of a mouse on the SEC website, citizens will be able to have the information they need to track the amount of money their government receives from many oil and mining companies,” he said.

"The new requirements will help to ensure equitable economic growth from oil and mineral extraction and benefit ordinary  Cambodians. The project-level disclosure required will provide communities and local officials in Cambodia with detailed information on the revenue from natural resources extracted from their community lands," Lund said.

“Similar transparency requirements should be enshrined in current Cambodian draft laws that will govern the oil, gas and mining sector; and we hope Cambodia will look for opportunity to develop a similar national disclosure policy.  

"Cambodia could help bring these rules to life, for example, by sharing this mandatory disaggregated project-by-project information on the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s Table of Government Financial Operation website.  

"Knowing how much was paid to the government and in what form will enable Cambodians to actively participate in decisions that affect their own lives and Cambodia’s development.”

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