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NEITI threatens to expose oil block owners

23 May 2014, 14:17

Abuja- The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Thursday threatened to make public names of oil block owners and extractive companies that have been evading the payment of taxes.

The Chairman of NEITI, Ledum Mitee, who made the threat in Abuja at the capacity building workshop for civil society organisations, said this would curtail those companies’ fraudulent activities.

Mitee said NEITI would engage the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to help it in exposing companies which are evading taxes in the oil and gas sector.

According to him, the plan is in line with the revised standards of global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to hold the companies accountable.

"Thus, the revised EITI standards require, for instance, disclosure of production figure, disclosure of ownership of the licence-holders and disclosure of beneficiary ownership,’’ the NEITI chairman said.

He explained that the new standards also require improved reliability of data transparency on the part of state-owned companies and other government agencies on revenue collected on behalf of government.

Mitee, who harped on the need to restore transparency in the extractive industry, said NEITI was ready to collaborate with CAC to identify people behind these companies.

"If you say XYZ Limited is this company and all that, sometimes it is abstract and it does not convey the information you want to convey.

"So the new process is going to ask us to report on the beneficial ownership, which means for the first time we are engaging CAC, for them to tell us the people behind those companies,’’ he said.

The NEITI chairman said the new standards focus on expenditure, social services, public infrastructure and fuel subsidy payments, adding that the revised standards encourage contract transparency from companies and government.

Mitee, however, disclosed that the aspects of the new standards, which were not captured by the current NEITI processes, would be incorporated in the 2012 audit reports now in progress.

-   NAN
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