The need for contract (and licensing documents) openness in the extractive industries is currently getting stronger, along with public demands for a transparent and accountable extractive industry governance. Some cases have shown a good precedent of contract openness in the said sector in Indonesia.

However, there are still many parties who assume that the contract and licensing documents are confidential documents that can only be accessed by parties who sign the contracts or licenses on the ground of business competition and concern on the misuse of information. Therefore, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia held a discussion entitled “The Contract and Licensing Documents Openness in the Extractive Industries last (16/1).

Present as the speaker was Gede Narayana, the Chair of the Central Information Commission. Gede explained that the 2008 Public Information Disclosure Law clearly stipulates that the agreement letter of public agencies and the third party along with the supporting documents is open information. “Our stance is clear, contracts in the extractive sector can be disclosed,” said Gede.

But Gede affirmed that the implementation of the Public Information Disclosure Law by public agencies is still not optimal. 77% of public agencies have not fully implemented the law’s mandate, in which belongs to less and uninformative category based on the categorization made by the commission. While only 3% of public agencies categorized as informative.

Syafei, Information and Documentation Management Officer (PPID) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MoEMR) said that MoEMR has conducted the consequential test over oil and gas contract. To avoid the accusations of negligence by the contracting party, the oil and gas contract is included in the excluded information. The decision has not been made for mining contract, since the consequential test is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Eddy Tedjakusuma, the Chairman of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Indonesia Secretariat asserted that contract disclosure in the extractive sector had become a global norm. Even a few countries have benefited from the contract disclosure. One of them is Peru, which managed to increase its royalty rate from 5% to 26%.

“There have been many Commission of Information’s decisions that mandated contract disclosure in the extractive industry. We have discussed with the MoEMR by referring to that decision. However, there has been no decision yet from MoEMR, particularly regarding the contracts in the mining sector,” said Eddy.

Alamsyah Saragih, Chair of The Central Information Commission for the period 2009-2011, who now serves as a member of the OMBUDSMAN RI, underlined the principle of public information, all are accessible except the excluded information. To determine the excluded information, one should conduct consequence test or public interest test.

“In the mining sector, besides the contracts, there are also mining permits. Differ with the contracts, permits categorized as documents that are available at all the times, so basically, it is accessible. If it is clear that the requested data is deemed as an open public information, but still not provided by the public agencies, it can be reported to the OMBUDSMAN RI,” continued Alamsyah.

At the end of the discussion, Maryati Abdullah, PWYP Indonesia’s National Coordinator emphasized that the opportunity for implementing contract openness in the extractive industry in Indonesia are widely open. “Regulations are already in place. What needed are only willingness and seriousness of the government to implement the regulations,” concluded Maryati.