By Christiana Ekpa
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the federal government to step up with establishing policies, tools and instruments, which will aid a speedy implementation of the recently signed Companies and Allied Matters (repeal and reenactment), Act, 2020.
Executive director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa made the call wednesday in Abuja while addressing National Assembly correspondents.
He said “it is important that this conduct is executed with political impartiality and professionalism. We commit that the civil society will monitor the implementation and will continue highlighting gaps and deficiencies”.
Musa observed that “Important anti-corruption and business commitments made by the president and the government at different occasions can finally be put in motion.
“Recall that since joining the Open Government Partnership movement and since making important public commitments in the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit in London in 2016, beneficial ownership disclosure and a public register of companies is one of the most important but outstanding commitments still not fulfilled”.
According to h8m, “It is widely accepted that law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies fail to identify real owners profiting from strategic Nigerian-registered business entities active in the oil and gas sector, defence, construction and others.
“Leak after leak in Panama papers, Paradise documents and many local investigations have confirmed what Nigerian citizens have long suspected. Actions and identities are hidden behind obstructive and fake business ownerships to loot state resources and reduce contributions to the Nigerian tax base.
“Until now, the absence of the enactment of the CAMA made it impossible to act on establishing a publicly available register of beneficial owners. Financing the Nigerian fight against corruption and poverty is sabotaged continuously by financial secrecy, which erodes national sovereignty.
“Sadly, we witness that many anti-corruption laws and policies are legally sound but are not complied with. This must not be the case for this legal provision! We will continue working with the National Assembly to ensure that proper civilian oversight and monitoring of this law is conducted.
“Instead of funding ourselves from taxing business activity, we borrow money abroad and bankroll our budgets at unfavourable and unsustainable terms”.
He said “ We want to use this medium to commend the Presidency for signing the Companies and Allied Matters (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Act 2020.
“This is a step in fulfilling the desired anti-corruption reform in Nigeria. This legislation has the potential to be one of the most significant laws in decades.
“With the provision regarding the disclosure of persons with significant control in companies, CAMA introduces transparency provision with an obligation for entities to disclose capacity in which shares are held, either as a beneficial owner or as a nominee of an interested person.
“Furthermore, Restriction on Multiple Directorship in Public Companies prohibits a person from being a director in more than five public companies at a time.