State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan studying international practice to raise transparency in mining industry

State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan studying international practice to raise transparency in mining industry

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug.5

By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:

Deputy Chairman of the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan Yusif Yusifov told about activities to improve transparency in the mining industry in an interview with Trend News Agency.

As known, in accordance with Azerbaijani president’s decree, the State Statistics Committee was assigned to ensure transparency in the mining industry. What steps are envisaged to be taken by the committee to implement this assignment?

First of all, I’d like to note that Azerbaijan has always supported international efforts for transparency and accountability in the mining industry. Our country, encouraging transparency in the industry at the highest level, joined the "Mining Transparency Initiative" in 2003, and in 2005, published a report on the Initiative for the first time in the world.

The activities carried out in our country in the field of ensuring transparency and the provision of public services in the mining industry are highly appreciated at the international level and were awarded Public Services Award of UN and the 2009 Mining Transparency Initiative Awards.

By Azerbaijani president’s decree dated April 5, 2017, No. 1315 "On additional measures to improve transparency and accountability in the mining industries", a Commission on Transparency in the Mining Industry was set up, consisting of senior officials of the relevant government agencies.

During its activity, the commission carried out the necessary activities, regularly issued reports in this area and provided information to the public in order to ensure transparency in the mining industry.

But, as you know, in recent years, important changes have been made to international principles and standards that promote accountability, with the aim of improving the efficiency and more flexible operation of the reporting mechanisms. One of these changes is their gradual integration into data publishing and reporting systems by gradually turning them into an integral part of the activities of the relevant state reporting structures in order to increase the efficiency of work carried out with using modern technologies in public administration, simplify access to information, and ensure transparency and regularity of reporting for free access to information.

In this regard, in order to ensure more consistent and sustainable reporting on transparency in the mining industry, Azerbaijani president signed a decree "On additional measures for the application of transparency reporting in the mining industry" dated July 28, 2020. Of course, the signing of the decree will increase the effectiveness of reporting in this area and simplify access to the information.

Within the cooperation with the relevant state bodies and structures, international organizations, and foreign companies operating in the mining industry, the State Statistics Committee will prepare a corresponding reporting form, determine the procedure, frequency and timing of its submission. In accordance with this form, information from enterprises and organizations operating in the mining industry will be collected, on the basis of the collected data, the publication of summarized official statistics will be ensured.

When will the measures start to be undertaken?

In connection with the decree’s execution, the preparatory work has already begun and the international practice is currently being studied because the adoption of this decree determines a new approach in official statistics. Thus, on the one hand, new and more detailed information in the mining industry must be collected, and on the other hand, the data collected on the basis of existing official statistical reports must meet the new requirements.

From this point of view, our main goal, as we noted, is to integrate reporting into the official statistical system, to ensure that the processes of collecting, processing and disseminating data become a constituent part of the statistical production process, in connection with which the necessary measures will be taken.

What changes will occur in the preparation of statistics in this context? Will the committee cooperate with some other structures for this?

To date, the committee has prepared and is publishing statistical data based on the available official statistical reports in the mining industry. For example, the annual statistical compendium "Industry of Azerbaijan" reflects the volume of production in the mining industry, fixed assets, the number of workers in this sector, their average monthly wages, manufacturing of products in physical terms and other key indicators.

The statistical compendium "Energy of Azerbaijan" provides information on the national energy balance, commodity balances of energy products and other necessary information related to energy statistics, including the main indicators of the energy enterprises' operations.

The publication also provides data on the share of energy and electricity consumption, energy intensity, efficiency and balance, balance by sectors, commodity balances of individual energy products, consumption of energy products by type of economic activity, production of crude oil, natural gas and other indicators.

Moreover, various statistical bulletins, analytical materials, press releases, and other information in this area were developed and presented to the users.

As noted above, the signing of this decree determines both the systematization of the available data in the mining industry and the collection of new data on a number of indicators, which currently are not considered in official statistics, in particular financial indicators, their generalization and publication on a single platform.

In this regard, the committee will cooperate with relevant agencies depending on the stages of the statistical production process, including from demand research to data publication.

Integration of databases of public authorities into the statistical database of the committee for obtaining additional statistical data in this area, increasing access to administrative data in terms of the purposes of official statistics, as well as reducing the burden on respondents are also included in the list of forthcoming tasks.

What breakthroughs in the development of this area will contribute to ensuring transparency in the mining industry?

I would like to note that the committee’s main task is to organize information support to meet the needs of users of official statistics. We believe that the transition to systematic publication of data in the mining industry through the taken measures will further increase the efficiency of the activities carried out, simplify access to the information and allow ensuring higher accessibility of the data.

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