Civil society organisations have asked the Federal Government to include the beneficial ownership details of bidders among the key requirements needed from those interested in the marginal oil licensing rounds.
According to them, the disclosure of beneficial owners will promote transparency in the process and encourage serious bidders to show interest in the exercise.
The groups disclosed this at a one-day online workshop hosted by Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries, with the theme ‘Urgent case for reforms in the petroleum industry.’
Beneficial ownership disclosure is a principle by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for all its member-countries.
Its target is to ensure that information about the ultimate beneficiaries of the ownership of assets in the extractive industries is disclosed to the public.
The workshop was facilitated by the Facility for Oil Sector Transformation and was attended by representatives of other groups, including Publish-What-You-Pay.
In April 2017, Nigeria joined 25 African countries in expressing commitment to disclose the natural beneficial owners of the companies bidding for, operating or investing in the extractives sector.
In December 2019, Nigeria opened a Beneficial Ownership Register for the extractive industries. The United Kingdom, Netherland, Denmark and Ukraine have similar registers.
The Federal Government said in 2019 that the register aligned with its anti-corruption mandate.
It further stated that the opening of the register was in fulfilment of the commitment by the President at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016 towards a transparent exploitation of the country’s extractive industries assets.