The Honourable Minister of State Budget and National Planning Prince Clem Ikannade Agba, has affirmed his commitment to support the effort of fulfilling President Buhari’s promise to build a public central register of company beneficial ownership information.

The Minister made this affirmation recently in Abuja, while delivering his welcome address on Nigeria’s Road to Beneficial Ownership Transparency, at the 2021 Open Government Partnership week.

According to the Minister, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the way forward in implementing the commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari which is related to Beneficial Ownership Transparency at the London Anti-corruption Summit back in May 2016; “Nigeria is committed to establishing a public central register of company beneficial ownership information. We are taking steps to ensure transparency of the ownership and control of all companies involved in property purchase and public contracting. Nigeria is already collating this information through the Extractive Industry Initiative process and would extend it to other sectors. Nigeria will establish a transparent central register of foreign companies bidding on public contracts and buying property.”

Following the above, Agba said that, the President had announced Nigeria’s membership in the Open Government Partnership.

Agba outlined some of the progress made so far in achieving a transparent and accountable government as follows: Revision of 2020 budget, High level round table, Disclosure of payments, Monitoring and Evaluation, Eye Mark, Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, Circular on Procurement, Extractive Sector Beneficial Ownership Register and the Revision of the second National Plan (Beneficial Ownership Transparency Principles).

He also revealed that the Global Support Unit of the Open Government Partnership awarded a grant of $400,000 to Nigeria through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund to ensure minimal funding challenge for the development of the central register; adding that the grant which was managed by the World Bank was at the final stage of documentation for its release.

Speaking also at the event,  the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), Boss Mustapha, pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of Nigeria’s membership in the Open Government Partnership was a show of his commitment to make transparent the fight against corruption by establishing a public central register of company beneficial ownership information, strengthening asset recovery legislation, working towards the full implementation of open contracting data principles in the award of government contracts; which is all in a bid to further strengthen the administration’s work on anti-corruption with partners in the civil society, private sector, bilateral and donor partners to ensure inclusive and participatory governance.

He further revealed that there was global interest in what is being done with the register, stating that it was Nigeria’s opportunities to share the process for African countries especially, who look forward to build similar register.

In his goodwill message, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa, who was represented by the Program Manager, Mr Chinedu Bassey, stated that the interest of CISLAC was to achieve the anti corruption mandate of the Nigerian Government which coincides with their mandate to also fight against corruption.

Furthermore, he expressed believe that a collaborative partnership with OGP movement and other stakeholders in the campaign “would help give a voice to the simple but strategic endeavour that would help curb corruption in our financial procurement and other strategic sectors”.

Hassan Dodo,

D/Information (BNP),