By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja – The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 into law.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr Auwal Musa, made the commendation in Abuja at a news conference at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“CISLAC wants to use this medium to commend the presidency for signing the act into law.
“This is a step in fulfilling the desired anti-corruption reform in Nigeria; this legislation has the potential to be one of the most significant laws in decades.
“Important anti-corruption and business commitments made by the president and the government at different occasions can finally be put in motion,” he said.
Musa said that law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies had failed to identify real owners, profiting from strategic Nigerian-registered business entities active in the oil and gas sector, defence, construction and others.
“Financing the Nigerian fight against corruption and poverty is sabotaged continuously by financial secrecy, which erodes national sovereignty.
“With the provision regarding the disclosure of persons with significant control in companies, the law introduces transparency provision with an obligation for entities to disclose capacity in which shares are held, either as a beneficial owner or as a nominee of an interested person.
“Furthermore, restriction on multiple directorship in public companies prohibits a person from being a director in more than five public companies at a time.
“If achieved, we will be able to edge closer to curbing discretionary practices that fuel corruption within the system.
“Let us recall that Nigeria loses an estimate of 17 billion dollars on illicit financial outflows through tax evasion, theft, laundering of corrupt proceeds and other crimes through companies with unclear ownership structures.
“When implemented, Nigerian treasury can profit from windfall of tax revenues and other revenues’ leakages.
“In the context of the shattered economy after the global pandemic, this instrument can help in alleviating millions of Nigerians out of abject poverty,” he said.
He said CISLAC commended the National Assembly for the speedy passage of the law in the early days of the 9th Assembly after the bill was not assented to by the president in the 8th Assembly.
Musa also thanked the media and concerned stakeholders who had joined the crusade for the actualisation of the feat.
He urged governmental authorities to step up with establishing policies, tools and instruments, which would aid a speedy enactment of CAMA provisions.