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Making transparent the flow of royalties and other financial transactions between governments and corporations can also reduce corruption, especially in oil, gas and mining operations. There are 31 countries, including many in Sub-Saharan Africa, that disclose all payments and receipts from oil, gas and mining operations as part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). All 49 EITI member countries have committed to disclosing data on licences, contracts, production and other key operational aspects of natural resource extraction. The information that EITI distributes enables citizens and good government groups to monitor authorities’ relationships with extractive companies and hold officials accountable. In Nigeria, information that EITI published showed billions of dollars in underpayments by companies and their agents, sparking government efforts to recover missing funds to bolster public finances (EITI 2014).
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Experience shows that providing citizens with access to information about government operations and public servants’ assets can be an effective way to prevent officials from abusing their power when avenues exist to make authorities answerable to the public. In 1997, the Ugandan Government found that schools did not receive 80% of their allocated funding because local officials diverted the support. Officials responded by publishing in local newspapers each school’s allocation, empowering administrators and parents to demand that these transfers reach their schools. By 2001, schools reported receiving 80% of these allocations. A subsequent study concluded that the amount of funds that local officials diverted correlated to the distance of a school from a major town where there was a newspaper outlet (Reinikka and Svensson 2011).