The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have resolved to establish a joint coordination committee to identify, document and disclose the real owners of Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining assets under the country’s implementation of the Beneficial Ownership policy of the global extractive industries transparency initiative and Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitment.
The decisions were taken in Abuja at a meeting held by the management of the two agencies.
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. According to Dr. Orji, “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 data base on beneficial ownership disclosures”
Dr. Orji added that “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.
He commended the CAC Registrar General Alhaji Garba Abubakar for the reforms ongoing at the Commission and re-affirmed NEITI’s readiness to forge closer ties with the Commission to strengthen institutional reforms.
Alhaji Garba Abubakar assured of CAC’s irrevocable commitment to partner with NEITI towards meeting the compliance standards set by the global EITI in beneficial ownership reporting.
AlhajiAbubakar stated that “The CAC is already working on comprehensive beneficial ownership register that will be global standard and disclosed that since January 3, 2021, all companies registering to do business in Nigeria were required to disclose the identity of their real owners. AlhajiAbubakar added “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”.
Alhaji Garba Abubakar listed some of the reforms that have been introduced by the CAC to include the use of electronic workflows and digitization of its processes including post – registration activities. “From January 2021, CAC upgraded to an end-to end electronic registration, abolishing the printing of registration certificates”, he explained.
The two agencies also agreed to expand collaboration as key members of Open Government Partnership on ease of doing business and extractive revenues governance, transparency and accountability.