Economy and Business

Federal government to require companies disclose owner’s identities to combat fraud

According to the federal government, oil and gas companies operating in the nation would be compelled to disclose their owners under the Beneficial Ownership Reporting system, which was recently established by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, warned that anonymity in company ownership continued to be a threat to economic growth, linking it to financial fraud and corruption.

At the official launch of the global Opening Extractives in Nigeria in Abuja, Mrs Ahmed, who was represented by Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said Nigeria had taken concrete steps through the NEITI’s Beneficial Ownership Register and the amendment to the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

“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,” she said.

With the current regulations, beneficial owners might set up shell companies, charities, foundations, trusts, or have nominees represent them on corporate boards.

According to the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), covert corporate ownership costs Nigeria and other developing countries almost $1 trillion each year, mostly in the oil, gas, and mining industries.

Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary of NEITI, stated that the initiative would be beneficial for the government, residents, and businesses.

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