By Obas Esiedesa – Abuja
THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has said that it will be working with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to identify, document and disclose the real owners of Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining assets under the country’s implementation of Beneficial Ownership policy of the global extractive industries transparency initiative.
NEITI in a statement by Head, Communications and Advocacy, Obiageli Onuorah on Sunday disclosed that the decisions were taken at a meeting between the management of the two agencies in Abuja.
Mrs. Onuorah in the statement said the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji described the CAC “as a dependable ally in Nigeria’s implementation of the global EITI’s beneficial ownership disclosure requirements”.
Dr. Orji added: “The CAC has the institutional responsibility of keeping 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.
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“The knowledge reposited in the two agencies makes it important for us to work together to ensure that the commitment made by Nigeria to the international community on effective implementation of Beneficial Ownership in the extractive industry is realized”.
The NEITI Executive Secretary explained that when information on who owns what in Nigeria is documented and made public, it will help to check illicit financial flows, terrorism financing, tax evasion and diversion of government revenues.
He described access to information by the citizens as the “Power to hold government and companies doing business in Nigeria accountable.
“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,” Dr. Orji stated.
Also speaking, the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar assured NEITI of CAC’s irrevocable commitment to partner with NEITI towards meeting the compliance standards set by the global EITI in beneficial ownership reporting.
Alhaji Abubakar stated that “the CAC is already working on comprehensive beneficial ownership register that will be global standard.
He disclosed that since the 3rd January this year, 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 public interest for anyone who needs it and at no cost to other government agencies”.