The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), on Thursday, unveiled a free electronic register that contains names of owners of 270 licences in the mining sector, the owners of 61 assets, and 56 companies in the oil and gas industry.
Speaking at the launch of the register, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, said the launch of the beneficial ownership register was a major milestone in the continuous quest to enthrone transparency in Nigeria’s extractive sector in particular and the country in general.
He said the register aligns with the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and with the spirit of the Open Treasury Portal unveiled by the President on Monday.
Adio said that at the touch of a button, anyone with internet access can find out, for free, the owners and the ownership structure of extractive assets that are in production in Nigeria.
“These are the assets covered within the scope of the NEITI audits. In this free electronic register, you will find the owners of 270 licences in the mining sector, and the owners of 61 assets and 56 companies in the oil and gas sector. The register will continuously be updated as more information becomes available and will periodically be upgraded to allow for better user-interface,” Adio said.
He said the Beneficial Ownership Registers by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) are in progress, and will be more comprehensive because they will contain ownership information of all extractive assets (whether producing or not).
“Also in progress is the CAC BO register, which will have ownership information of all the companies operating in Nigeria. The NEITI BO register is a precursor to these larger registers that are still being built. The NEITI Register will feed and fold into these larger registers when they are ready,” Adio said.
Speaking on the importance of the register, he said legitimate businesses, and most businesses stand to benefit from knowing who they are doing business with, from reduced exposure to reputational risks, from having a level-playing field, and from improved trust in their operating environment.