The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are set to establish a joint coordination committee to disclose real owners of oil, gas and mining assets in the country.
This is contained in a statement signed by Obiageli Onuorah, NEITI’s head of communications and advocacy, on Sunday.
According to the statement, the decision was taken in a meeting between the management of NEITI and CAC in Abuja.
NEITI said the committee seeks to identify, document and disclose the owners under the country’s implementation of ‘beneficial ownership’ policy of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
In 2017, NEITI said that knowing the real owners of companies is critical to checking corruption. Two years later it released a beneficial register that contains a list of the owners of 270 licences in the mining sector, and the owners of 61 assets and 56 companies in the oil and gas sector.
Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI, described the CAC as a dependable ally in Nigeria’s implementation of the global EITI’s beneficial ownership disclosure requirements.
He explained that the documentation of the owners of the assets would help to check illicit financial flows, terrorism financing, tax evasion and diversion of government revenues.
“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,” Orji said.
“We therefore need each other to build a consolidated data base on beneficial ownership disclosures.
“The knowledge repository 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 realised.”
The NEITI boss 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 optimisation 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”.
Also, NEITI and CAC agreed to expand collaboration as key members of Open Government Partnership (OGP) on ease of doing business and extractive revenues governance, transparency and accountability.