…seeks determination of beneficial ownership
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday said that it has never in the last two years the Federal Government has not sought to compromise it. This according to its Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD), Mr. Mele Kyari, who extolled the government that has given the corporation a room to operate transparently and also remain accountable, is unprecedented in the history of the corporation.
He broke the news in his goodwill message at the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) stakeholders workshop on validation in Abuja.
He said that “we have never had it this good in this country like since the last two years. In terms of transparency in our transactions, validation of our activities, the unfettered and unobstructed participation of the SGF which has never asked us to do anything else different.
“This is the most transparent government in this country. We have seen a lot of governments, and worked with a number of them, especially in the last two years, we put our cards in the table.”
In his presentation titled “Deepening EITI implementation in Nigeria: Commodity Trading and Beneficial Ownership,” he pointed out that when asked of beneficial owners, trading companies present list of their shareholders registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
He insisted that government needs to work with the NEITI to get beneficial a owners, noting that the banks could use the cash to trace the real owners of the companies.
Continuing, he said that “we know that the names on companies registration in the CAC are just mere names of people who get commissions from real owners.
“The closest we can get is to insist that companies give names of people who have at least 5 to 10% shares and you can consider beneficial owners.”
Kyari however pointed out that should NNPC go beyond that, it would be seen to be doing the job of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to him, the corporation is only interested in the beneficial owners for them to pay their proper tax and not for their crime.
He however submitted that “for the first time during our last contract, we insisted that all companies declare beneficial owners and all of them gave a list of shareholders which is useless.
“We need to have collaboration between the government, companies and banks to come to an agreement on the determination of beneficial owners.”
Speaking, NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Waziri Adio, noted that the corporation has now changed for good. He said that the NNPC now honors invitation, which shows that nobody benefits from opaqueness while serving the public.
He said although Nigeria has survived different validation exercises, the question remains whether NEITI’s reports have effected any social change in the country.