Abuja – Federal Government has been urged to open register for owners of companies involved in the extractive industry.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), made the call in its maiden Policy Brief entitled: The Need to Know Who Owns What in Nigeria’s Extractive Sector, obtained by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The eight-page report said Nigeria should establish its public register of beneficial owners of companies in the extractive sector ahead of the 2020 deadline.
All EITI-implementing countries are expected to publish their roadmaps for reporting the real owners of extractive companies by Jan. 2017 and create publicly accessible registers of beneficial owners of extractive companies by Jan. 2020.
In the report, NEITI contended that there was nothing that said that Nigeria could not beat this deadline by at least two years.
Taking this leap, it added, would provide another opportunity for Nigeria to solidify its credential as leader among EITI-implementing countries and a champion of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
“The campaign for knowing the real owners of the companies in the extractive sector is gathering momentum globally especially after the leak of the “Panama Papers.”
“With the London Anti-Corruption Summit coming after the Panama Papers, the campaign for revealing the real owners of companies will stay high on the global anti-graft agenda.
“Nigeria should seize this momentum, not just to ride on the bandwagon, but to strengthen the fight against one of its major challenges in its most strategic sector.”
NEITI said its eight-page report was aimed at engendering informed debate, focusing the attention of policy makers and the populace on critical issues.
“It is also driving needed policy change in the extractive sector in Nigeria. It is one of NEITI’s newly introduced policy and advocacy instruments that will complement the NEITI annual audits’’, NEITI said. (NAN)