Oscarline Onwuemenyi 28 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, says its proposed law on Beneficial Ownership disclosure will increase transparency and accountability in the extractive industries.
The agency is pushing for the enactment of a specific law that would compel companies operating in the extractive industries to abide by strict Beneficial Ownership disclosure.
NEITI’s Director of Communications, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, who announced plans by the agency to push for the law, stated that disclosing the real owners of companies operating in the extractive sector in Nigeria would expand the frontiers of transparency and accountability and yield other benefits to the country.
Orji lamented the absence of a legal framework that compels companies to disclose its real owners, stating that this had helped fuel corruption in the extractive sector.
According to him, due to the fact that there is no statutory obligation to disclose beneficial ownership, politically exposed persons and senior government officials use surrogates to front for them.
He said, “When government officials and politically connected individuals seek to profit from a country’s mineral assets, they do so using fronts and ownership structures that do not provide sufficient information about the true identities of the natural persons behind the title.
“The lack of transparency allows influential officials to use their positions to extract maximum rent from a country’s mineral resources with minimum or no benefit to the citizens. A case in point is OPL 245 and Malabu Oil.”
He further stated that full ownership disclosure would increase government revenues, build confidence between investors and their partner local companies; reduce the incidence of corruption and money laundering and cut off funding for drug lords and terrorists.