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‘Unveiling beneficial owners critical to tackling IFFs, terrorism’

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Nigeria may not address challenges of economic leakages, especially Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), money laundering and illegal assets, unless the Federal Government and other stakeholders provide necessary support for the introduction of beneficial ownership register, the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has said.

Speaking on the sideline of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said beneficial ownership register would provide an opportunity to address critical challenges facing the country, including tax evasion and sponsorship of terrorism.

The global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) defines a beneficial owner of a company to mean the natural person who directly or indirectly owns or controls the corporate entity, extending to the natural person who also controls the benefit of a transaction, even if he or she does not influence the company where the transaction is executed

Though requirement 2.5 of the EITI Standard (2016) specifies that by January 1, 2020, all member-nations must ensure that their oil, gas and mining companies that apply for, or hold a participating interest in an exploration or production of oil, gas or mining license or contract publish the names of their real owners.

The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), yesterday, said secret ownership of companies, especially in the oil, gas and mining sectors, was costing Nigeria and other developing countries about $1trn yearly.

“There is a need to know owners of resources and find a way to deal with public officials, who are using their position to steal fund,” Rafsanjani said.

EITI policy brief had noted that beneficial ownership register would help government maximise the full potential of the economy, boost investor’s confidence and improve the investment climate, among others.


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