Nigeria has set January 2017 timeline for the development of an actionable roadmap to unveil the real owners of extractive companies in the country by 2020.
The plan is in line with a mandate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The Minister for Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, says anonymous companies have been used to fuel and mask corruption in Nigeria.
He also raised concern over the illicit wealth often lodged in foreign countries while Nigerians were denied the benefits of the natural resources.
The minister recommended a public registry of beneficial owners of these companies developed in conjunction with global bodies and other countries, as a way out of the challenge.
He expressed confidence that it would help Nigeria check abuses, grafts and money laundering which have ploughed down the economy and given the country a negative image in the comity of nations.
Dr. Fayemi spoke on Monday at a forum with representatives from nine other African countries and all EITI-implementing countries held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Deputy Head of EITI, Mr Eddie Rich, told reporters that the meeting was convened to create a roadmap for beneficial ownership disclosure by 2020; that is to unmask the real people behind companies in the extractive sector.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr Waziri Adio, also stressed the need for Nigeria to surmount some challenges, saying it gave room for the regional consultative workshop.
Allegation Of Unremitted Dividends
NEITI, in some of its past audit reports, had alleged several irregularities in the extractive industries including unremitted dividends and abuse of the petroleum subsidy regime.
The four year audit reports between 2009 and 2012 contained an alleged unremitted $11.6 billion to the Federation Account.
NEITI Chairman, Mr Mitee Ledum, decried the non-implementation of the audit reports and recommendations to reform the extractive industries.
During a visit to Nigeria some months ago, EITI Chairperson, Mrs Clare Short, urged the Nigerian Government to implement its past reports in its quest to reform the mineral extractive sector of the economy.
Mrs Short was in Nigeria to meet with the government and lend a voice to the proposed reforms in the extractive sector of the economy.
She expressed the view that the Federal Government had a ready-made tool in the reports of NEITI which could be relied upon to reform the sector.