Nigeria Can Save $15bn Annually Via CAC Beneficial Ownership Register – OGP - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Nigeria Can Save $15bn Annually Via CAC Beneficial Ownership Register – OGP

ABUJA - The global chief executive officer of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Sanjay Pradian has said Nigeria can save over $15 billion annually in illicit financial flows if it eliminates anonymous ownership of companies through the implementation of the “Beneficial Ownership Register” by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Beneficial ownership is the right to some share of a legal entity’s income or assets (ownership) or the right to direct or influence the entity’s activities (control).

Beneficial Ownership Transparency (BOT) helps to understand how companies and other legal entities are owned and controlled.

Pradian who is a former vice president of the World Bank Institute, while speaking at a Multi Stakeholder Meeting on Nigeria Beneficial Ownership Register yesterday in Abuja disclosed that findings by the World Bank revealed that between 1980-2010, 70 percent of corruption cases involved anonymous shell companies.

He said it was estimated that the elimination of anonymous companies will help put a stop to $15 billion in illicit funds that flow out of Nigeria annually.

The OGP helmsman also announced that besides the UK, Nigeria is now among the seven countries that start a beneficial ownership register to advance beneficial ownership, transparency, and avert anonymous companies.

He said, “If the government must fight corruption, it has to unmask the real owners of companies, and when they are getting the public procurement contract you will be able to know who is getting what contract and if there are red flags one can easily point it out.”

The registrar general of CAC Alhaji Garuba Abubakar disclosed that the commission had developed the Beneficial Ownership Register in January 2022, adding that the register allows people to view the beneficial owners of companies across Nigeria.

He said the development of the register has shown that the government is committed to the fight against corruption, transparency, open government contract and that the government is committed that it operates with the best standards obtainable in the world.

He, however, pointed out that to ensure verification of information and ensure the integrity of the system was to integrate the Register with the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) such that CAC do not approve any company registration until they have verified their information from NIMC.

Abubakar stated that they have perfected the process such that names of people submitted to them can be identified and traceable saying the era where people cloned names submitted to them is gone.

He disclosed that although the system has been in place since 3rd January 2021, but the commission is taking it to a higher level such that Nigerians can go to their search engine and type and then put any company’s name the Beneficial owners of the company will pop up.

He said this only applied to companies that registered between 3rd January till date and have filed their tax returns, adding that they would soon put the information on the open database and then make it accessible to the public.

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