By Obas Esiedesa
The global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has clarified that its second validation exercise on Nigeria due to take place in July is not an examination of the country.
EITI said the process is not about passing a judgement on Nigeria but ensuring that the 51 countries involved in the EITI process meet certain standards.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholdersa�� workshop on validation in Abuja on Wednesday, EITI Regional Director, Mr. Pablo Valverde said it was wrong to view the validation exercise as an examination.
While praising Nigeriaa��s role in promoting the EITI process, he noted that Nigeria through the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has done more than was expected of it since it joined the process.
He described the extractive sector in Nigeria as complicated and complex, but added that the country has done well in trying to reform the sector.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of NEITI board and minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said Nigeria takes the implementation of the EITI process very seriously as the country strive to improve transparency in the extractive sector.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Isa Dutse, Fayemi expressed the hope that Nigeria will move forward beyond the a�?meaningful progressa�� status it attained in the last validation exercise.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio said beside meeting EITI requirements, it was important that the implementation of the process in Nigeria lead to a�?resource cursea�� reversal.
Adio disclosed that NEITI plans to release audit reports of the oil and gas sector for 2016 and 2017 before the end of this year, to make the report timely.
Also speaking, the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, advocated a�?following the moneya�� to unmask “real beneficial owners” of oil blocks in the country.
Speaking on the topic: Commodity trading and beneficial ownership, Mr. Kyari, said all stakeholders must work together and to determine who beneficial owners of companies are.A�
a�?We all know that the names on most companies registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are just mere names of people who get commission from the real owners. When we (NNPC) request for list of beneficial owners of trading companies, they simply give us a list of all their shareholders,” he said.
Kyari however, said he believes the money trail can be followed to unmask who he real owners are. a�?We need collaboration between government, companies, banks and security agencies to come to an agreement on how to determine beneficial owners.
“The closest NNPC can do is to insist that companies provide details of people who have at least 5 – 10 percent shares and we consider that beneficial owners. If we trace beyond that, then it will seem we are tracing crime. The security agencies can follow the cash, the banks can follow the cash to get to beneficial owners. But we are not looking for crime we are looking for beneficial owners so we can properly tax them,” he said.
The workshop was attended by the companies working in the petroleum sector including the NNPC, Shell, Addax and representative of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS).
Others were miners, industry regulators, civil society organisations and journalists.