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Tunisia

Development of an "Open Data" Platform Dedicated to Information Dealing with Oil and Mine Sector Investment (TN0018)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tunisia, First Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Industry

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Extractive Industries, Land & Spatial Planning, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tunisia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

This platform will include the following categories of data:
- The updated status of the bonds mining,
- General indicators of investment in the sector,
- All data relating to production, consumption, import and export, distribution
and sale contracts, etc.,
- companies operating in the sector and the size of their investments and
activities and their contracts,
- fiscal crops derived from the state sector,

IRM End of Term Status Summary

18: "Open Data" platform for petroleum and mining sectors

Commitment Text: This platform will include the following categories of data:

       The updated status of the bonds mining,

       General indicators of investment in the sector,

       All data relating to production, consumption, import and export, distribution and sale contracts, etc.,

       Companies operating in the sector and the size of their investments and

       Activities and their contracts,

       Fiscal crops derived from the state sector.

Responsible Institution(s): Ministry of Industry

Start Date: July 2014 End Date: June 2016

Commitment aim

This commitment sought to increase transparency by publishing information on mining and energy resources. This information included companies operating in the sector, and all data relating to production, consumption, import and export, distribution, and sale contracts.

Status

Midterm: Limited

It was unclear how many datasets were populated on the data portal the government launched in the first year of the action plan. This resulted in a limited completion level. For more information, please see the 2014-2015 IRM Midterm Progress Report.[Note 54: OGP, Tunisia IRM Midterm Progress Report 2014-15, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Tunisia2014-15_IRM%20Progress%20Report_Eng.pdf. ]

End of term: Complete

In September 2015, the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mines launched the open data portal (http://data.industrie.gov.tn/). The portal was built using CKAN technology and, since the midterm, has been populated with more than 200 datasets, including 50 contracts for oil exploration and exploitation. Numerous organisations involved in the mining and petroleum sector, including the Ministry of Industry, energy companies, and regulatory agencies, contribute data and publish contracts on the site. Information is organised by themes, such as oil contracts, energy balances, oil, gas, electricity, energy management, mines, and phosphate. In addition, users can filter by geographic area, company, or data type.


Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

The development of an open data portal is an important step in that it allows civil society to analyse important data on mining resources, and can enhance their advocacy efforts with available public facts and numbers. Furthermore, the open data platform was created because of demands from civil society, a large portion of citizens, and opposing parties in parliament.[Note 55: Hafawa Rebhi, “Oil Contracts Disclosure: Red Lines Limiting Transparency,” Nawaat, 1 July 2016, https://nawaat.org/portail/2016/07/01/oil-contracts-disclosure-red-lines-limiting-transparency/]

Several CSOs, such as e-Gov Society and the Institut Arabe des Chefs d'Entreprises (IACE), have expressed satisfaction with the technical specifications of the portal, and have praised the release of some public contract details with private oil companies.[Note 56: Interview with Abdelhamid Jarmouhi, Open Gov Group, 27 September 2016, and Maher Kallel, E-Gov Society, 18 September 2016.] They have determined that the portal meets international open data standards, specifically regarding the availability of the data in a datastore and an Application Program Interface (API). However, other stakeholders (e.g., I-Watch and members of the OpenGovTN group) were sceptical about the platform, and questioned the relevance of the published datasets in exposing and limiting corruption.[Note 57: CSOs interviewed: I-Watch, Open Gov group, and Al Bawsala, October 2016.] A recurring criticism from CSOs is the failure to publish all oil contracts (currently, only some are released). According to an interview with Med Dhia Hammami, an activist for access to information in the energy sector, some details about the revenue and expenses per company/permit/project are missing from the portal.[Note 58: Interview with Med Dhia Hammami, 6 February 2017.] Hammami stated that the government is reluctant to publish financial data, and does not respond to information requests regarding the energy sector.

Contracts disclosed on the open data portal notably shed light on the relationships between the state, Tunisian and foreign operators, and ETAP (the state-owned company that manages petroleum exploration and production activities). However, other equally vital actors in the energy and mining sector are absent. For example, the Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas’ (STEG) natural gas purchasing contracts from providers are not published.[Note 59: Hafawa Rebhi, “Oil Contracts Disclosure: Red Lines Limiting Transparency,” Nawaat, 1 July 2016,  https://nawaat.org/portail/2016/07/01/oil-contracts-disclosure-red-lines-limiting-transparency/.] Unlike the oil sector, the mining sector has not released all exploration permits or exploitation concessions on the portal. Furthermore, environmental impact assessments are required under the Hydocarbons Code of 1999,[Note 60: Republique Tunisienne, “Code des Hydocarbures,” 2011, http://www.droit-afrique.com/upload/doc/tunisie/Tunisie-Code-2011-hydrocarbures.pdf.] which states that all operators must provide studies to both the ministry’s Energy Department and the National Agency for Environmental Protection. Environmental information is not widely available on the open data portal, despite its relevance and the challenges facing Tunisia (toxic and phosphogypsum emissions from the phosphate industry, natural gas flaring in oil fields,[Note 61: Hafawa Rebhi, “Tunisie : Le torchage du gaz naturel, une dilapidation qui perdure,” 21 April 2014, http://www.leconomistemaghrebin.com/2014/04/21/tunisie-torchage-gaz-naturel-dilapidation-perdure/.] and oil spills).

I-Watch (a leading anti-corruption CSO), Open Gov group, and Al Bawsala (a Tunisian civic participation CSO) all view the portal as a good first step. However, CSOs believe that the Ministry handpicked some contracts to publish according to non-transparent criteria. Thus, the process for selecting and publishing contracts on the portal could be made more transparent, and installing an accountability mechanism could better equip citizens to request complete contract transparency. A report from the Natural Resource Governance Institute came to similar conclusions. It noted that, because of the inclusion of extractives transparency in the OGP commitments and the creation of the open data portal, “CSOs and the media have turned their attention to more intricate and delicate issues related to the extractive sector, namely contracts and contract disclosure.”[Note 62: Natural Resource Governance Institute, “Tunisia's Second Act: Noting Progress, Accountability Actors Demand Contract Transparency,” 30 April 2015,

http://resourcegovernance.org/blog/tunisias-second-act-noting-progress-accountability-actors-demand-contract-transparency. ]

In February 2016, the government announced its intention to join the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).[Note 63: Natural Resource Governance Institute, Tunisia EITI Commitment Big Step on Long Path To Improved Governance, 21 November 2016, http://www.resourcegovernance.org/blog/tunisia-eiti-commitment-big-step-long-path-improved-governance.

] Despite some remaining issues of disclosure, the open data portal created under this commitment represents a major step forward for transparency, and is a key component placing Tunisia on the path to EITI compliance.

Carried forward?

This commitment was completed. In the new action plan, the government has commited itself to joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (commitment 1). Even though the commitment is considered complete, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

       Review published reports and explain the reasons for excluding some contracts; note when certain information has been omitted;

       Consider the publication of all contracts;

       Create space in the platform to allow citizens to interact with the Ministry of Industry.


Commitments

  1. Right to Information

    TN0036, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Open Data Framework

    TN0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Access to Geographic Information

    TN0038, 2018, E-Government

  4. Open Transport Data

    TN0039, 2018, E-Government

  5. Improve Water Resource Governance

    TN0040, 2018, E-Government

  6. Join EITI

    TN0041, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Open Contracting in Hydrocarbons

    TN0042, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Anti-Corruption Framework

    TN0043, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  9. Participatory Budgeting

    TN0044, 2018, Audits and Controls

  10. Youth Participation

    TN0045, 2018, Marginalized Communities

  11. Implement Initiatives to Apply the OGP at the Local Level

    TN0046, 2018, E-Government

  12. Online Administrative Services

    TN0047, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Access to Civil Service

    TN0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. Joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative "EITI"

    TN0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Modernizing the Regulatory Framework to Enforce The Right To Access to Information

    TN0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. The Completion of the Legal and Regulatory Framework of Open Data at the National Level

    TN0023, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Improve the Transparency and Local Gov Openness

    TN0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Enhance the Transparency in the Cultural Sector : “Open Culture”

    TN0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Enhance the Transparency in the Environment and Sustainable Development Sector

    TN0026, 2016, Aid

  20. Enhancing Transparency in the Transport Sector

    TN0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promoting Financial and Fiscal Transparency

    TN0028, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  22. Elaborating a Legal Framework for Citizen’S Petitions

    TN0029, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Developing an Integrated Electronic Civil Petition and Corruption Reporting Platform

    TN0030, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  24. Developing New Mechanisms to Promote Interaction with the Youth and Enable Them to Pursue Dialogue About Public Policies

    TN0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Adopting the Corporate Governance Referential on the Sectoral Level

    TN0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Developing Mobile Applications Which Could Be Downloaded on the Mobile Phone to Reinforce Transparency of Government Activities and Participatory Approach

    TN0033, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Enhancing Access to the Archive

    TN0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. The Development of an Electronic Mechanism to Ensure Transparency of Public Servants Recruitment

    TN0035, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Strengthening Legal Framework for Corruption Fight

    TN0001, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  30. Developing an Integrated Electronic Civil Petition and Corruption Reporting Platform

    TN0002, 2014, E-Government

  31. Publishing an Annual Report on Audit Activities in Public Sector

    TN0003, 2014, Audits and Controls

  32. Review of the Legal Framework of Personal Data Protection and Ensuring Conformity with Article 24 of Tunisian Constitution

    TN0004, 2014, Human Rights

  33. Developing an Open Data Portal

    TN0005, 2014, Infrastructure & Transport

  34. Preparing a National Corporate Governance Repository

    TN0006, 2014, E-Government

  35. Establishing a Legal Framework That Regulates Communication and Interaction Within Public Sector and Between Public Structures and Citizens with Usage of ICT

    TN0007, 2014, E-Government

  36. Simplifying Administrative Procedures

    TN0008, 2014, E-Government

  37. Develop a Number of Administrative Services On-Line

    TN0009, 2014, E-Government

  38. Enhancing People Participation in the Decision-Making Process

    TN0010, 2014, E-Government

  39. Capacity-Building of Civil Servants and Citizens in the Area of Open Governance

    TN0011, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Creation of a Structure Specialized in Training in the Governance Area

    TN0012, 2014, Capacity Building

  41. Publication of Budget Reports

    TN0013, 2014, Audits and Controls

  42. Development of the Open Budget System

    TN0014, 2014, Fiscal Transparency

  43. Use of the Data Extracted from the Application Dedicated to Budget Management (Adeb) in Public Sector

    TN0015, 2014, E-Government

  44. Publication of Reports Related to Attribution and Execution of Public Procurement and Audit Results

    TN0016, 2014, Audits and Controls

  45. Publication of Recommandations Included in Audit Reports of Public Procurement

    TN0017, 2014, Audits and Controls

  46. Development of an "Open Data" Platform Dedicated to Information Dealing with Oil and Mine Sector Investment

    TN0018, 2014, Extractive Industries

  47. Improve Transparency in the Area of Infrastructure Projects

    TN0019, 2014, Infrastructure & Transport

  48. Devoting Transparency in the Environment Field

    TN0020, 2014, E-Government