The Federal Government, through the recently established Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) yesterday, said it would become mandatory for oil and gas companies operating in the country to state their owners under the Beneficial Ownership (BO) Reporting system.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said secrecy in the ownership of companies in the country remained a threat to economic growth linking it to money laundering and corruption.
According to the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigeria and other developing countries record losses in the region of $1 trillion yearly due to secret ownership of companies, especially in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
Under the prevailing situation, beneficial owners could run shell companies, charities, and foundations, trust or have nominees, who represent them on board of companies.
Ahmed, represented by Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, at the official launch of global Opening Extractives in Nigeria, in Abuja, said Nigeria had taken concrete steps through the opening of Beneficial Ownership Register by the NEITI and the amendment to Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
She said: “Knowing the real owners of the companies that bid for, invest in and operate Nigeria’s extractive assets has practical implications for the economic growth, physical security and human development in our country. The Federal Government is aware and concerned that anonymous companies remain the major obstacle in the fight against money laundering and corruption.”
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