The Federal government has set January next year to make public the real owners of oil, gas and mining assets in the country through a National Beneficial Ownership (NBO) register.
The data to be jointly launched by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is expected to further push the country’s preparedness to shine the light on the opacity in the extractive industry.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and the Registrar-General of the CAC, Mallam Garba Abubakar, jointly announced this at the on-going Conference of State Parties on United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
According to the Deputy Director/Head Communications and Advocacy of the initiative, Obiageli Onuorah, when ready, the register would be merged with the CAC register of companies in the country.
“The NEITI executive secretary explained that under the joint inter-agency collaboration with the CAC, the NEITI beneficial ownership register filled with facts, information and data on who owns what in the oil, gas and mining sectors will merge with CAC beneficial ownership portal that covers all registered companies in Nigeria.
“Orji stated that with a national integrated beneficial ownership portal, NEITI and CAC will be in a better position to support government efforts at revenue growth by checking capital flight, tax evasion, terrorism financing, illicit financial flows and outright economic sabotage,” the statement added.
Addressing a special panel on beneficial ownership at the conference in Egypt, the NEITI boss identified political will, stakeholders’ consultation, institutional and citizens’ ownership as well as civil society partnership as critical success factors that have led Nigeria’s efforts.
Onuarah further revealed that Nigeria has submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on the use of beneficial ownership information and data disclosure to identify, track, recover and return assets looted or stolen from developing countries.
“The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, announced this while addressing the 9th session of conference of state parties in progress in Egypt,” NEITI stressed.
It explained that the draft resolution was submitted jointly with the support and partnership of five developing countries including Kenya, Pakistan, Peru and Saudi Arabia.
“The attorney general informed the UN Convention that Nigeria has put in place institutional structures and legislations to protect Nigeria’s resources.
“The minister conveyed Nigeria’s appeal to the conference of the UN convention against corruption to consider the draft resolution on its merit in view of its strategic importance in recovering looted assets from developing countries,” the statement noted.
It explained that the Nigerian delegation to the conference led by the minister was made up of heads of key anti-corruption agencies, the NEITI executive secretary, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Registrar-General of CAC, among others.
“The UN Conference is expected to ratify the global anti-corruption strategy for adoption by over 150 countries attending the conference,” NEITI stated.