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NEITI lauds Buhari over stance on revelation of beneficial ownership

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) addresses delegates at the start of a conference to tackle corruption at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on May 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) addresses delegates at the start of a conference to tackle corruption at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on May 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on the full disclosure of beneficial owners of companies doing business in Nigeria’s extractive industry.

NEITI said the President’s pronouncement at the Anti-corruption Summit in London is in line with its position, as contained in its maiden policy brief on beneficial ownership disclosure.

In the Policy Brief, NEITI identified the presence of anonymous companies as a threat to Nigeria’s economy and national security and called on the President to champion policies and laws mandating public disclosure of the real owners of companies operating in all sectors in the country, especially those in the extractive sector.

NEITI stated that as the agency responsible for the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Nigeria, it was encouraged by the speech delivered by the President committing Nigeria to implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure.

It stressed that the presidential commitment would no doubt strengthen the ongoing reforms in the oil, gas and mining industry.

Buhari reportedly said: “We welcome the new 2016 EITI Standard, in particular, the requirements on beneficial ownership and the sale of the government’s share of production.”

NEITI also said it was delighted with the pronouncement by the President to establish a public register of the beneficial owners of all companies operating in Nigeria, saying such would provide valid information and crucial facts on beneficial owners of companies involved in exploration, production, trading, import, export, and provision of other services in the extractive sector.

Apart from its immense benefits to the economy and national security, NEITI argued that beneficial ownership disclosure has practical implication for increasing government revenues, reducing the incidences of corruption, money laundering and cutting off funding from drug lords and terrorists.

It noted that the President’s reaffirmation of Nigeria’s commitment to the principles of the global EITI could not have come at a better time than now that Nigeria, through NEITI, is repositioning its operations to move from the emphasis on transparency and accountability to how implementation of EITI can translate to direct impacts in terms of poverty reduction and improved quality of life for the citizens.



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