Nigeria will meet 2020 deadline for extractive industry ownership disclosures

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The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, said on Monday Nigeria would meet the 2020 deadline by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for the effective implementation of beneficial ownership reporting in the country’s extractive industries.

Mr. Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), was speaking at the consultative workshop for the development of a roadmap for beneficial ownership disclosure in Nigeria’s extractive industries.

The minister said the principle of ownership transparency in the extractive sector was consistent with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to open, transparent and accountable management of the country’s resources.

Apart from the president’s personal conviction and the anti-corruption drive of his administration, Mr. Fayemi said openness was being mainstreamed in all sectors of the economy as the defining governance ethos.

“It is worthy of note that NNPC, previously renowned as the poster-child of opacity, is now issuing monthly reports on its operations,” he said.

“The workshop is important because government is keen on making sure our natural resources work for all of our people; that natural endowments facilitate, and not impede progress; and that revenues from these natural blessings translate to improved welfare for all our citizens.”

The Minister said the government’s determination to ensure effective framework for beneficial ownership disclosure was important to identify appropriate legal and administrative instruments required for full disclosure of beneficial owners.

As an EITI-implementing country, he said Nigeria was required to publish a roadmap for disclosing the beneficial owners of all companies doing business in the country’s extractive sector.

“Knowing the real owners of the companies that bid for, invest in and operate our extractive asset has practical implications for economic growth, physical security, and human development in our country,” he said.

While not illegal in many countries, Mr. Fayemi said anonymous companies were known to constitute real and present dangers, especially in sectors as strategic as the extractive sector and in developing countries.

NEITI Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, said the volume of hidden ownership would require actions in different domains and by different actors, saying this would require new regulations, new policies and new legislations.

He said ownership transparency, when pursued effectively, was in the best interest of all.

He said NEITI would continue to push for transparency and accountability, adding that the agency would do more work on expenditure transparency.

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