SEC schedules vote on extractives transparency rule

After more than a year’s delay, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that on August 22, 2012 it will vote on the final rule to implement the Cardin-Lugar Amendment. Also known as Section 1504, part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Cardin-Lugar Amendment requires all companies traded on the N.Y. Stock Exchange to publish the payments they make to the US and foreign governments for oil, gas and mining.

The scheduling of this vote is an important victory for ONE members and our partners in the Publish What You Pay Coalition (PWYP). Earlier this year, ONE and PWYP asked you to lend your voice to pressure the SEC to pass a hard rule on the Cardin-Lugar Amendment, and more than 145,000 of you signed our petition urging SEC commissioners not to give into pressure from Big Oil. You also sent thousands of comments, letters, tweets and phone calls to the SEC, asking them to schedule a vote and deliver a strong rule requiring ALL extractive companies to publish their payments in the countries where they operate at the project-level, and close loopholes that would enable companies to avoid reporting their payments.

Good news—your voices have been heard!

All too often, revenues from mineral and oil extraction pad the wallets and offshore accounts of corrupt government officials, rather than public investments such as health care, schools, roads and clean water. Therefore fighting corruption as well as increasing accountability and transparency is absolutely essential to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth and development in Africa. The Cardin-Lugar provision is intended to curb corruption in developing countries by increasing transparency of payments made by US-listed companies to foreign governments. The information disclosure required by Cardin-Lugar will help citizens in mineral-rich countries see their countries’ extractives revenues, thereby enabling them to hold their governments accountable for providing public services.

But the fight is not over. The vote has been scheduled but we must continue to watch and urge the SEC Commissioners to come down on the right side of the transparency and vote on a strong rule to implement Cardin-Lugar which could lead to life-saving improvements in public services and help end the resource curse in poor countries. Stay tuned for updates!

Photo Credit: SEC