31 August 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has tasked the Federal Government on the implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure in Nigeria.
In a publication, titled, ‘The Roadmap on the Implementation of Beneficial Ownership Disclosure in Nigeria’, the agency said there was a growing international recognition that anonymous companies constituted potential and real dangers to the economic and security well-being of countries where they operated.
According to NEITI, these companies deny countries of valuable revenues through tax avoidance, and sometimes outright tax evasion, and could mask links to corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, and even terrorism financing.
“The need to know the beneficial owners of these companies has given rise to the global phenomenon aptly called “beneficial ownership” disclosure”, it said.
The phenomenon is embodied in Requirement 2.5 of the EITI Standard.
“The EITI Standard aims to make it compulsory for member countries to report beneficial owners of companies operating in their extractive industries”, it said.
Section 2.5 of the Standard specifically requires implementing countries, such as Nigeria, to maintain a public register of the beneficial owners of the corporate entity (ies) that bid for, operate or invest in extractive assets, including the identity (ies) of their beneficial owner(s) and the level of ownership.
Accordingly, NEITI said all EITI-implementing countries are expected to publish a beneficial ownership roadmap starting from January 2017 and commence full implementation by January 2020.
“The need to develop an implementable roadmap on beneficial ownership reporting in Nigeria and to seek wider inputs and ideas from stakeholders necessitated a one-day consultative workshop which was held on 31st of October 2016, with funding and technical support from the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)”, it said.