The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is perfecting plans to ensure that identities of owners of Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining assets will be documented and made public under the beneficial ownership policy implementation programme.
The move which is a part of efforts geared towards implementation of the global transparency programme has seen NEITI embarked on a joint coordination committee with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The committee was formed after both managements of NEITI and CAC met and reached a resolution contained in a statement signed by the Head, Communications and Advocacy, of NEITI, Obiageli Onuorah.
The statement quoted the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji saying it was the institutional responsibility of both agencies to build a consolidated database on beneficial ownership disclosures, describing the CAC as a key ally in the implementation of the global NEITI’s requirements.
He said, “The CAC has the institutional responsibility to keep the register of all companies doing business in Nigeria while NEITI sits on information and data on oil assets, key players and investors in the extractive industries. We, therefore, need each other to build a consolidated database on beneficial ownership disclosures”.
According to Dr. Orji, the information held by both agencies saddles them with the responsibility of ensuring that Nigeria’s commitment to the international community on effective implementation of Beneficial Ownership in the extractive industry is realized.
He further explained that illicit financial flows, terrorism financing, tax evasion and diversion of government revenues will be better checked when ownership of oil and gas assets is documented and made public.
“The exclusion of information about our natural resources was at a huge cost to the Nigerian economy and affected Nigeria’s optimization of revenues from its natural resource wealth. With your cooperation and reputation, we can help our government fight the resource curse which is the reason the EITI and NEITI exist”, he said.
On his part, the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Garba Abubakar has assured of CAC’s commitment to partner NEITI in complying with standards set by the global EITI.
He said, “The CAC is already working on a comprehensive beneficial ownership register that will be of global standard. He disclosed that since the 3rd January 2021, all companies registering to do business in Nigeria were required to disclose the identity of their real owners.
“This information became a requirement by the CAC for purposes of beneficial ownership information in the public interest for anyone who needs it and at no cost to other government agencies”, he explained.