New NEITI documents to expose real owners of oil, gas companies

New NEITI documents to expose real owners of oil, gas companies

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said it has unveiled two documents designed to push the boundaries of implementation of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries in Nigeria.

The first document is the Roadmap on Beneficial Ownership disclosure while the other is an Open Data policy.

The Roadmap on Beneficial Ownership seeks to outline Nigeria’s strategy towards the implementation and fulfillment of Requirement 2.5 of the EITI standard which among other things demands public disclosures of the real owners of oil, gas and mining companies that operate in Nigeria.

NEITI said in a statement on Tuesday that the roadmap provides comprehensive plans and actions designed to guide Nigeria in its implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure in the extractive industries.

The strategy document also identified the institutional frameworks that are required for effective implementation of ownership transparency, clarity on definition of beneficial owners and explanation on thresholds for public disclosure required in the process.

The document also defined those who fall into the category of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and the reporting obligations expected of them as well as the challenges  that may be encountered during the process of  data collection, data quality assurance, accessibility and timeliness.

The roadmap apart from fulfilling the EITI requirement, is also in line with the commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the London anti-corruption summit where he pledged to establish a publicly accessible register of all companies operating in Nigeria.

The EITI standards require all implementing countries to publish their Beneficial Ownership Roadmap by January 2017 and commence full implementation by January 2020.

In a similar development, NEITI has unveiled an open data policy in keeping with the realization that the world is currently witnessing a global shift towards making  data open and accessible. This is also in compliance with the EITI Standards and the global shift towards open data availability which is largely attributed to technological advancement and increasing demand for transparency and accountability by citizens.

Under the open data policy released by NEITI, information and data contained in its industry audits would be made publicly available and accessible in a reusable format.